Hispanic Heritage Month Spotlight: Angelica Cardenas Guerrero

Hispanic Heritage Month is an international celebration held from Sept. 15-Oct. 15. This month, we’ve asked faculty, staff and students to share what their Hispanic heritage means to them, as well as how the culture has shaped who they are and how others can learn from their experience.
In this Q&A, Hispanic mentor and Lamar University admissions counselor Angelica Cardenas Guerrero shares her background, culture and what Hispanic Heritage Month means to her and her family.
Q: What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you? 
A: Hispanic Heritage Month is a time that we can celebrate my culture and the individuals who contributed positively to the world. It is a time to reflect on those who paved the way for minorities and allowed us to have the opportunities we have today as Hispanics. 
Q: How has this culture shaped who you are today? angelica-cardenas-guerro-hispanic-mentor-spotlight
A: My culture is the stories, values and traditions that have been passed down to me by my family. It is the importance of doing well in school and working hard in everything we do, personally and professionally. I feel tremendous pride to be part of a culture that has worked hard to succeed and persevere. 
Q: What is something that you wished others knew about Hispanic Heritage month that they maybe don't already know?
A: A fun fact about Hispanic Heritage month is that it is a celebration of many Central American countries, along with Chile, that gained independence on Sept. 15-18. It is a month that allows Latinos to celebrate their heritage and different traditions of other Hispanics.  
Q: What advice (both personal and professional) would you give to young Hispanic/Latino students?
A: The personal advice I would provide to a young Hispanic/Latino student would be to learn their history and to really understand and appreciate the sacrifices of their families. 
I would advise them to fully embrace their diversity and know their cultural experiences are what makes them who they are. Be confident in yourself! When entering the workforce, there might not be too many people that look like you. However, embrace this opportunity by staying true to yourself, self-advocating and networking. There is no one else better to advocate for yourself than you! So, find opportunities to network and find mentors that can guide you through your career. 
Q: What are some cultural traditions that you hold close to your heart?
A: A cultural tradition that I hold close to my heart is celebrating Christmas on Dec. 24 and waiting until midnight to open gifts. During that time, it is spent with family and surrounded by traditional food, dancing and laughter. 
Q: What are you most proud of when it comes to your Hispanic heritage?
A: Being Hispanic is about where we came from, sacrifices and our family's hard work. Therefore, I am most proud of the sacrifices my parents have made to provide me and my sister with a better life. Everything I have accomplished thus far is all part of the support and encouragement that I receive from my family.