Saint Mary’s “Week of Poder,” hosted by La Fuerza and the Student Diversity Board, kicked off this Monday with a discussion about different experiences speakers had while pursuing higher education as a Latino or mentoring Latinos in higher education.Leonard Sanchez, professional specialist in social work; Marc Belanger, chair and associate professor of political science; and Ty West, associate professor of modern languages, spoke at the event. Other speakers included Saint Mary’s international student and scholar advisor Adriana Petty, Saint Mary’s 2015 alumna Christin Kloski and the associate director of the TRiO Upward Bound program through Notre Dame, Rafael Marin.During the talk, several speakers brought up issues they experienced while pursuing higher education.Sanchez said in college he had to talk with the head advisor in order to be put in the classes he needed to graduate and had a conversation with the president of his alma mater about diversity on campus.“You have to believe that we’re going to graduate and that it’s an attainable event,” Sanchez said in regards to the conversation he had with the president of his alma mater. “You shouldn’t look at us and say, ‘You are so lucky or blessed to be here.’ I know that I am blessed, but you have to give us the same chance to succeed.”Marin said he was born in Texas and then moved back to Mexico with his mother when he was young. He moved to America for high school and had to learn the language quickly.“I had to work two or three times as hard as any other students in college,” he said. “Other students who did not have the language barrier have other challenges. We all face challenges that are different from one student to the next, minority or not.”Marin said he was often teased for his accent in high school and college.“Stereotypes create false images of not just Latinos, but many different ethnic groups,” Marin said. “It is your job to change the stereotypes.”It is important to focus on higher education., Kloski said.“One of the stereotypes is that [Latinas] are under-educated,” she said. “Well, look, we’re all here and proving them wrong. Focus on your education and be proud when you succeed.”Sanchez explained how he grew up in Portland and was the first generation in his family to attain a college degree. He said his decision to attend college was inspired by the Holy Cross Order.“The Holy Cross Order had a program where graduates from college would volunteer for a year in my community,” he said. “These young people were the first to mentor me and took me under their wing from when I was in third grade to college. Without them, I wouldn’t have known all it took to apply to colleges.”Petty said she went to high school in South Bend and was the first generation to attend college. Mentors were essential during her time on campus, she said.“I got involved in La Fuerza and the older girls really mentored me,” she said.“They helped me navigate around campus life and issues in the classroom.”Belanger discussed how important it is for Saint Mary’s students to build relationships with faculty.“Professors will write you a letter for grad school and and they won’t just say you did a good job in class — they will write about whole person,” he said. “Professors here do care about you. Be confident that if you’re here, you belong here.”West explained how he uses his time spent in Mexico as a tool to connect with Saint Mary’s students.“I try to bring the real world into the classroom and use concrete examples from the Latin American civilization to foster respect, knowledge and break down stereotypes and barriers we all confront,” West said.Sanchez said working at Saint Mary’s has been beneficial towards his goal of giving back to the community and giving others the opportunity to succeed at higher education.“When I came to Saint Mary’s, it was another opportunity to give back,” he said. “I am in a better place for what I want to accomplish.”Kloski said she was proud of the leader she was able to become while at Saint Mary’s.“Be strong and bold,” she said. “Set goals for yourself and become successful.”Tags: Diversity, latinos, panel, saint mary’s, Week of Poder
SANTA ANITA RESTRUCTURES MANAGEMENT STAFF WITH INTERNAL PROMOTIONSLongtime Executives Nate Newby and Amy Zimmerman Promoted to SVPs; Chris Merz Rejoins Santa Anita Racing Office as Director of Racing Santa Anita Park is pleased to announce the promotion of longtime executives Nate Newby to Senior Vice President and Assistant General Manager, and Amy Zimmerman to Senior Vice President and Executive Producer. In addition, Chris Merz, who had been the Racing Secretary at the Maryland Jockey Club since 2018, has returned to Santa Anita as the Director of Racing, assisting Steve Lym, Vice President – Racing.“As I look to continuously strengthen Santa Anita with strong leadership and a dedicated team behind me, I am confident that Nate and Amy, with their vast experience and commitment to Santa Anita and the racing industry wholly, will continue to elevate The Great Race Place to where it deserves to be in the top tier of racetracks worldwide.” Said Aidan Butler, Acting Executive Director of California Racing Operations for The Stronach Group.“I also warmly welcome Chris back to Santa Anita, a hard-working individual who has rightly earned his respect from the horsemen with his approachable attitude and understanding of Southern California racing.”Newby has been Vice President of Marketing since 2013 and has worked on the planning, marketing and coordination of eight Breeders’ Cups, in addition to heading up Santa Anita’s marketing and sponsorship initiatives. Newby is an experienced hands-on horseman, working as an assistant trainer while in college at Colorado State University, as well as a skilled tournament director and handicapper. He and his wife, Sterling, are active in fundraising for CARMA, the California Retirement Management Account serving Off Track Thoroughbreds, and currently own several ex-racehorses.Zimmerman, a Vice President of the track since 2007 and a member of the staff since 1986, is one of the most respected and honored broadcast producers in the sport, working on 26 Eclipse Award-winning, 14 Emmy-winning and four International Simulcast Award productions. A graduate of USC, Zimmerman has worked with NBC Sports for more than 30 years as a key member of their production team for the Breeders’ Cup and Triple Crown races, and is preparing for her roles this summer as a producer on her fourth Olympic Games and her first as the Pit Producer for IndyCar.Merz returns to the Santa Anita racing office as the Director of Racing and will report directly to Steve Lym, the track’s Vice President, Racing & Racing Secretary. A graduate of the University of Arizona’s Animal Science/Race Track Industry Program, Merz was the stakes coordinator at Santa Anita and Del Mar, and the Assistant Racing Secretary at Los Alamitos, prior to joining the Maryland Jockey Club.