“Si, se puede!” speaker series debuts

Photo Courtesy of ALMA

Gillian Mccomeskey


Last Monday, the Institute for Inclusion and Equity welcomed Ana Peña, a Data Analyst for the Federal Aviation Administration, to speak about her experience and what it took to reach her position. She was the first speaker in the new “Si, se puede!” speaker series.

Peña motivated and inspired young Latinos as well as other college students. “If you want it… you will get it,” Peña said.

She spoke about how it was hard to convince her parents that leaving home in order to pursue a career was the best option for her.

Sophomore Ashly Chavez, who is studying anthropology and sociology, expressed similar concerns to the ones Peña discussed. Namely, she feels pressure and expectations from her immigrant parents.

“I think the biggest struggle I face is with my career path. My parents don’t understand what I’m studying and think I’m wasting time and money. I really hope that I’m doing the right thing

and prove to them that I don’t need to be a doctor or lawyer to be successful,” she said.

Hearing from people who faced similar obstacles can help students look past them and push toward their dreams.

When it came to her culture, Peña emphasized the importance of staying in touch with who you are and never changing it in order to be accepted. Peña spoke about her experience in college and how she utilized her outspoken personality in order to create the change that she wished to see. She also spoke about the importance of being driven. If you have a drive you can do anything you want, Peña expressed.

The audience for Peña’s presentation was filled with students of all years and walks of life.

In addition to motivation, the presentation included information on how to get internships and advice on being proactive.

The Institute for Inclusion and Equity, which can be found in Lower Wismer, promotes student success and equal opportunity for all students regardless of race, ethnicity, and gender.

Assistant Director of Residence Life, Alvert Hernandez, plays a crucial role in choosing guest speakers and planning presentations by members of different ethnic and gender groups.

The series “Si, se puede!” specifically focuses on the Latinx community by showing students how people of their ethnicity are represented in different parts of the work force. These presentations not only teach students why they need to be proactive and why they should care about getting involved on and off campus, they also teach students how to get involved.

Peña’s focus was on being a Data Analyst. However, the series will welcome representatives of a large variety of careers. If there is one thing that the Institute for Inclusion and Equity wants to convey, it is that it does not matter where you come from or who you once were, you will always have someone to connect with, whether it’s a guest speaker or another advocate at Ursinus college.

The “Si, se puede!” series will continue with speakers who are ready to motivate students to follow their dreams and surpass any obstacles in their way.

“Si, se puede!” speaker series debutsFor more information about future talks, visit the Institute for Inclusion and Equity page on the Ursinus website.