Hispanic Heritage Month Spotlight: Evelyn Maldonado
Evelyn Maldonado, BA in Creative Writing ’26, shares her background and experiences so far at New England College.
What is your background?
I’m Mexican and Guatemalteca (Guatemalan), but I was born here in America, more specifically San Diego, California. It’s right next to the border. Spanish was my first language. I went to TJ (Tijuana) with my grandparents a handful of times and went to Rosarito Beach some of those times as well. Growing up in San Diego, I always saw a lot of diversity. I got to be invested in my culture, such as the music, the food, the art (handicrafts especially), the holidays. My earliest memory was when I was around five: I was in Mexico and a mariachi played “Para Siempre” for me while we were both on separate ferries.
Are you a first-generation student?
I am a first-generation college student. My family has always held standards for me academically, and I have always made them as proud as I could.
What motivated you to go to college?
It’s always been a given that I would go to college in a way. My family never mentioned any other option for me after high school. My priority always had to be school, even if there were any negative impacts from prioritizing my academic life over more concerning things. This made me dislike school, even if it came “easy” to me or even if I enjoyed learning. It became something that I had to do instead of what I wanted to do. Then I took a class in my junior year. It was called Civic Action. I was taking English 101 (a college course) at the same time. These courses were different from any other class I had taken before. They touched on the real world. I felt like I was actually learning something valuable. I like to learn. Love it even. I have an open mind, and if I am learning something where I feel I am gaining something valuable to me and society, I will thrive and invest myself in it. College gives you the freedom on what you want to expand your horizons on; I gain knowledge and experience at the same time. It’s something that is mine, only mine, and I love it. When you give people a choice, you find that they are more likely to benefit in multiple aspects of their lives.
Have you had any great accomplishments you’d like to share?
Gen-Z Life. It’s a small organization of thousands of youths all over the country getting together to discuss ways to aid the current state of the world and educate others on the world’s reality. I was 15 when I first heard the term “police brutality.” Over quarantine, I found myself becoming more interested in the state of our society and world. Being at home without almost all the responsibilities I had before the pandemic, I was exposed to life outside of high school. I was no longer only working on being a good student and daughter; I realized I had to become a better person too. I was decent. I didn’t hold or express any hatred. I decided that it wasn’t good enough to just be a good person while there was hatred manifesting everywhere around me.
What do you love about NEC, and have there been any top moments for you here so far?
NEC’s natural environment was something I’d never really experienced. I love the scenery and the climate here. Personally, I love all my classes and how the small class size allows our professors to give us personal attention. It feels as if our professors truly care. NEC definitely is an accepting community. I wouldn’t define them as “top” moments, but I’ve taken on many responsibilities with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. I’ve also become president of the Hispanic/Latino Student Union. And I’ve also been granted the opportunity to be secretary of the creative writing club. I’ve been trying to take as many opportunities as possible.
Why would you recommend the program you’re in to prospective students?
I think it’s great for anyone to get involved with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. It’s all about creating a safe community for everyone regardless of race, gender, religion, background, sexual orientation, etc. Basic human rights. You won’t ever be unwelcomed. If you are passionate about these kinds of topics in the world, this is a great place to get started.
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