Adriana Zarate, a junior at the University of North Georgia (UNG), is committed to collaborating with staff, students, and the local community to ensure access and equity for all UNG students. As an Orientation Leader, Adriana assists students in navigating the college process. After recognizing a need for additional support of Latinx families, Adriana was actively involved in first building and later expanding an initiative to include Spanish-language programming in our Parent and Family Orientation. With Adriana's assistance in both planning and translating, we now offer 3-hour Spanish-language orientation sessions to clarify UNG's opportunities for our Latinx students and their families. Adriana also supports students once they are on campus; as Vice President of Outreach for the Latino Student Association, Adriana encourages Latinx students to engage in academics and community events. As a member of the Student Government Association, she ensures all student voices and perspectives are heard, and she played a key role in advocating for increased health services on the Gainesville campus. Adriana's many initiatives have already made a lasting impression on the campus and local community, and we are eager to see the impact of her future advocacy work.
As a first-generation Latina, I am passionate about achieving my own academic goals, while also helping others reach their own. I have enjoyed many opportunities throughout my college experience and have used them as a guide for not only myself but for other students. Latinx students often encounter additional hurdles to completing a college degree, including navigating strong family responsibilities, language barriers, and cultural differences. My community outreach centers on supporting other Latinx students to degree completion.
I have had the pleasure of serving as an orientation leader for two years at my university. In this role, I have been able to work with different university offices to help initiate a Spanish parent session to increase Latinx parents understanding of college. In addition, I have been able to attend regional conferences furthering my understanding of not only the Latinx community, but also other marginalized communities. I also currently serve as a Latino Student Association Officer and a Goizueta Scholarship recipient. As a student leader in these programs, I have worked with campus administrators to help bring more health services to our campus. I hope to continue collaborating with the Latinx community to establish continuous support systems in college and beyond.