Serape style graduation stoles with embroidery reading HLA Embajador

Dear Graduates,

As this chapter of your life comes to an end may you remember that every long night, cada lagrima, every breakdown, cada momento de orgullo, every moment of laughter, los amigxs y experencias nuevas were all worth it!! You made it and we are so proud of you!! Eres un Orgullo Hispano!!

May you always think back fondly of your time at UF and always think of HLA as your home away from home. Your Casita and Salita will always be here for you.

Felicidades on such an amazing accomplishment!!

-HLA

Major: Bachelor’s in Political Science
Minor: History
Involvement:Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Inc., Student Government Senate, Chomp the Vote, Students Taking Action Against Racism, ADELANTE, Dominican Student Association, and Florida Blue Key.
Alana Rush is graduating Cum Laude with a bachelor’s of Political Science with a minor in History. Throughout her time at the University of Florida, Alana became a sister of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Inc. in the Spring of 2018, was a Student Senator for the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, where she was elected Member-at-Large and served on multiple committees, was tapped into the Fall 2019 Florida Blue Key tapping class, and held numerous other Student Government positions. Some of Alana’s favorite memories at the University of Florida include going into salita/casita and bothering Bianca, making fun of her sisters making Tik Toks, and the late nights at Library West. To future graduates, no matter how hard it gets, you belong here and you will get through all of the obstacles life throws at you!
Major: Bachelor of Science in Behavioral & Cognitive Neuroscience
Minor: Spanish
Alexandra Ramirez is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Behavioral & Cognitive Neuroscience, with a minor in Spanish. Her studies and experiences in the healthcare field have demonstrated the need for greater understanding of public health within Hispanic communities. She hopes that the connections she has fostered will aid in her future role as a physician.
Major: Criminology
Minor: Business Administration and Educational Studies
Involvement:Hispanic Student Association,
Student Government: Students Taking Action Against Racism (STAAR) and Bridges Minority Outreach Agencies,
Mexican-American Student Association,
Dance Marathon,
ADELANTE,
Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Fraternity,
Bob Graham Center Tallahassee Fellow
The biggest takeaway I take from my time at UF is the value and purpose of family and community. I learned that our mission should be to enhance our family and community. I am forever grateful for my involvement and who I met along my journey because of them, I have found my passion, and it’s because I always had a room full of people wanting to help me grow and cheer me on.
Major: Applied Physiology and Kinesiology (APK), specializing in Exercise Physiology
Involvement:Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Inc. – 2018-2020 Treasurer and 2019-2020 Fundraising Chair
Mexican-American Student Association (MASA) – 2019-2020 Fundraising Director
Anahi is a first-generation, Mexican-American student who majored in Applied Physiology and Kinesiology (APK), specializing in Exercise Physiology on the pre-Physical Therapy track. She is a sister of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Inc. and has served as Treasurer and Fundraising chair. Anahi also served on the Mexican-American Student Association’s (MASA) executive board as their Fundraising Director. She will miss her amazing e-board and all of her beautiful sorority sisters and every other amazing gator she had the honor to have met. Anahi advises any student who also came to Gainesville alone to never be afraid to step out of their comfort zone and to ask for help!
Major: Bachelor of Arts in International Studies with a focus in Europe.
Involvement:Dominican Student Association, Marketing Director,
Omega Zeta Chapter of Order of Omega Honor Society, Inductee,
Lambda Theta Phi Latin Fraternity, Inc., President (Two Terms),
Returning Gators Program Living Learning Community, Student, Member Leadership Program, Mentee and Mentorship Director,
The Office of Political Affairs, Lobbying Officer, Gator Model United Nations, Member, Leader Scholar Program, Student
My time here at the University of Florida had it’s ups and downs but I would not trade the experiences I had, the people I met, and the memories I have for anything else. Through it all, I was able to create friendships that will last a lifetime, memories that I can look back on with fondness and laughter, and a community that I will always cherish. I think those aspects are what makes coming to the University of Florida so worth while because I can say when I look back on my experience here, I will remember the kind people that welcomed me, the culture, and the Hispanic-Latinx community.
Major: Bachelor of Science in Business Administration & Marketing
Minor:Professional Selling
Involvement:UF Hall of Fame, HSA President, HSA Secretary, MASA Chief of Staff,
Hispanic Heritage Month AD,
MLP Member, HLA Ambassador,
TogetherUF Co-founder,
Foreign Language Organization, German Facilitator,
Heavener Leadership Challenge Member and
Florida Blue Key Member
Major: International Studies (Middle East focus) and
Women and Gender Studies (International Perspectives)
Minor:Arabic Language
Involvement:Hispanic-Latinx Student Assembly,
Hispanic Student Association,
Bridges Minority Outreach Program,
Reitz Union Board of Managers,
Alpha Phi Omega Community Service Fraternity
Be kind to yourself, that’s the greatest form of self-care.
Major: Psychology,
Minor:Anthropology & Health Disparities in Society
Involvement:President, UF Tae Kwon Do Club, Secretary, UF Psychology Club & Psi Chi,
Volunteer & Intern, Samuel Proctor Oral History Program
My involvement at UF did not begin until my sophomore year after I changed my major to psychology and began searching for organizations that aligned with my interests. I began volunteering with the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, where I learned about the rich, complex history of Gainesville and various locations and populations throughout Florida. I also joined Tae Kwon Do and Psychology Club, in which I eventually held officer positions (President and Secretary). These organizations helped me connect with people who genuinely cared about me and what I had to say. They taught me many valuable lessons about compassion, diligence, and perseverance and for that I am immensely grateful.
Major: Bachelor of Arts: Double Major in Political Science and Sociology
Involvement:UF Honors Program, Member of the Member Leadership Program Class XIV, Campaign Leader for Boot the Braids UF Campaign, Vice President of External Affairs and Member of Chispas UF, HSA Cabinet Member, HLA Ambassador, Hispanic Heritage Month Assistant Director, Regional Liasion for Bridges Minority Outreach Program, Executive Vice President and Head New Member Educator of Gamma Eta Sorority, Inc., Bob Graham Center Tallahassee Semester Internship Fellow
Daphne will be graduating with a B.A. in both Political Science and Sociology. During her time at UF, Daphne was involved in Chispas, Gamma Eta Sorority, Inc., the Bob Graham Center Tallahassee Semester Internship Program, the Boot the Braids Campaign, HLA, among others.

Advice from Daphne: Remember to stop and take in every moment you have at UF, both good and bad, because you will miss these experiences once you are gone. For my first-generation students, never let someone or something take your spark away from you; we deserve this success just as much as anyone else. Above everything, remember that it is each of our responsibilities to continue advocating so marginalized groups can continue succeeding at UF. Thank you to UF and the people that I met along the way for changing my life forever. Go gators!

Major: Environmental Science
Minor: Sustainability Studies and Agricultural and Natural Resource Law
Involvement:2019-2020 Gatorship Director,
2018-2019 Gatorship Assistant Director,
Research Assistant – Learning in the Wild Research Lab,
2017-2018 Social Media Director – Hispanic Student Association,
2017-2018 Assistant Director of New Student Affairs – Gators Going Green,
2017-2018 GECO Environmental Education Committee Member
Throughout the past four years, I have learned so much about the world and have transformed into the person I always dreamed of becoming. Most of my learning was done outside of the classroom, whether it be connecting with friends or working for programs such as Gatorship. I am eager to apply the knowledge I’ve learned as a gator and continue to build a just, free, and equitable world.
Major: Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology
Bachelor of Arts in Criminology
Minor: East Asian Language and Literature
Involvement:2016-2017 MLP Class XIII
2017-2018, MLP Class XV Assistant Director and Mentor,
2017-2018 Machen Florida Opportunity Scholar Mentor,
2017-2018 Dominican Student Association Vice President,
2017-Present Sister of Theta Nu Xi Multicultural Sorority, Inc.,
2018-2019 Dominican Student Association President,
2018 Preview Staffer,
2018-Present Student Assistant at New Student Family and Programs,
2019-2020 C.A. Pound Lab Human Identification Lab Volunteer, Planning committee for Latina Empowerment Symposium
My name is Ilaisah Martinez and in my four years at UF, I have learned leadership, confidence and diversity and inclusion. I was part of MLP in 2016, Assistant Director of MLP in 2017-2018, MFOS Mentor 2017-2018,
Sister of Theta Nu Xi Multicultural Sorority, Inc. 2017-Present, Dominican Student Association President 2018-2019, Preview Staffer for 2018 and more. Within my involvement, I was able to not only enhance my skills as a global gator and leader, but also help enhance the student experience at UF to make sure people like me, a first generation Afro-Latina, are able to call UF their home in many ways.
Major: Bachelors Degree of Health Science
Involvement:Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority Inc.,
Hispanic Latinx Student Assembly 2018 Event Coordinator,
Hispanic Latinx Student Assembly 2019 Event Director,
Baby Gator,
UF Emergency Medical Responder,
UF Pre-PA Association,
My name is Janet Cendejas and I will be graduating with a Bachelors in Health Science aspiring to be a Physician’s Assistant. During my time at UF, I learned that success is what you make it. One of my favorite memories at UF was being the Event Director for the Hispanic Latinx Student Assembly in 2019, welcoming incoming freshmen and transfer students to the Hispanic community at UF.
Becoming a sister of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Inc at the Notorious Chi chapter allowed me to grow not only professionally but personally as well and helped me find my home away from home at UF.
If there’s any advice I would give to other students I would say to not be afraid of trying things out of your comfort zone and to always stay true to yourself.
I am so proud of be a Mexican-American first generation graduate from a top ten Public University. As always, Go Gators!
Major: Psychology and Women’s Studies
Minor: Educational Studies
Involvement:Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Inc.
Women’s Student Association
While I have always thought of my academics to be a crucial part in measuring my success at the University of Florida, I could not have been more wrong. Academics are important, but nothing has been as important as my own personal journey and the growth that came with finding a community that both challenges me and inspires me. My time at the University of Florida has had its fair deal of ups and downs, but it is the people that I have crossed paths with that have made me realize how important it is to be you. To be you in a campus that was not made for you, to be you in a classroom where nobody looks like you, to be you as you challenge the status quo and claim your space. Four years later, I am unapologetically a loud proud Latina who is always me.
Major: B.A. in Religion with Honors.
B.A. in International Studies (Latin America and the Caribbean).
Involvement:Executive Director of Hispanic Heritage Month 2018.
Sister of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Inc.
Project Coordinator at the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program.
Director of Individual Events in Florida Blue Key Speech and Debate Tournament.
Student Speaker at the 2019 Convocation for Liberal Arts and Sciences.
University Scholars Program Scholar.
My Latinidad blossomed in La Salita and La Casita. I will forever be grateful for the trust my peers had in me as the HHM Executive Director as we led a major celebration and I treasure those memories with all of you deeply. Keep studying, working and fighting for your dreams, never let them die. Thank you to my teachers, mentors, friends, LTA sisters, and family por todo tu amor y apoyo.
Major: Health Science
Involvement:Gamma Eta Sorority, Inc.,
Child Life Volunteer,
Interdisciplinary Clinical and Academic Program,
Health Professions College Council,
L.E.A.P,
Brown Center for Leadership and Service Ambassador,
Member Leadership Program,
Hispanic Student Association
During my time at UF, I have seen myself grow in so many different ways. My involvements started during sophomore year with MLP and led to my senior year with becoming a sister of Gamma Eta Sorority, Inc., each shaping me into the woman I am today. The many people I have met along the way have each contributed to my outlook on life, and I know our paths crossed for a reason. These past four years have come and gone in a blink of an eye, and I am thankful for every second.
Major: Political Science
Involvement:HLA Student Ambassador,
HLSA 2017 Marketing Staffer,
HLSA 2018 Event Director,
MLP Spring 2019 Executive Director
The people that I have met here have changed my life. They introduced me to this community and helped me find my passion for my culture and for helping others. I honestly don’t know where or who I would I be today if it wasn’t for those people (they know who they are!!). As far as advice goes, remember that you have a support system behind you, siempre! It is very easy to feel like you’re alone in such a big place like UF, but remember that there are always people that are looking out for you and want to see you thrive!
Major: Advertising
Minor:Music Theory
Music Composition (certificate)
Involvement:Swamp Records (Graphic Designer and Digital Arts Coordinator),
The Independent Florida Alligator (Account Executive in sales)
My time at UF has been amazing. I have met so many wonderful people here, and I never felt alone here. My advice to future graduating gators is to make memories now, because the time will fly!
Major: Bachelor of Arts in Digital Arts and Sciences
Minor: French and Francophone Studies
Involvement:HSA Member Leadership Program (2015),
Hispanic Student Association – Secretary (2016),
Hispanic Student Association – Vice President of Communications (2017),
UF Student Government – External Communications Cabinet Director (2017),
The Agency at UF – Developer (2019),
UF PorColombia – President (2019)
Maria Luisa Grosso was born in Bogota, Colombia and raised in Wellington, Florida. She joined the University of Florida in 2015 and pursued a Bachelor of Arts in Digital Arts and Sciences with a focus on Digital Humanities and a concentration in French and Francophone Studies. During her undergraduate career, Maria Luisa was an active participant in student leadership. She began as part of the Member Leadership Program SP’16, later becoming the Vice President of Communications for the Hispanic Student Association and External Communications Cabinet Director for Student Government. Her most proud accomplishment was having the opportunity to serve her Colombian student community by serving as President of PorColombia. In the future Maria Luisa hopes to help bridge the gap in access to arts education for Latinx students. She began cultivating resources through her senior project Ser Latinx, a digital arts exhibition which you can visit at www.serlatinx.com
Major: Bachelor of Science in Health Education with a focus on Health Studies.
Involvement:MLP, HSA, Preview Staff, Sigma Lambda Beta, UF PPAA.
While my time at UF may have been cut short, I will forever cherish the memories and lessons that I learned during my time here in undergrad. I am forever thankful for all of the genuine people I have met and formed such close bonds with in the hispanic community, as you truly helped to develop me into a better version of myself. My last parting piece of advice to underclassmen would be to get involved! With nearly a thousand clubs and student organizations on campus, even if you don’t find your community or group of friends immediately, you will with time.
Major: Criminology
Minor: Latin American Studies
Involvement:Associate Coordinator of Internal Affairs for the PODEMOS Initiative, Peer Coordinator for ADELANTE, Marketing Ambassador for Multicultural and Diversity Affairs, MCDA Rep. for the Student Advisory Council for Undergraduate Affairs, and Assistant Director of LGBTQ + Cabinet Student Gov.
Over the past three years, I’ve been fortunate enough to be part of a family at UF. In my two and a half years of PODEMOS, I made countless amount of friendships and lessons learned. PODEMOS, ADELAMTE, and HLA overall has brought joy to me in way I can’t even describe. Thank you to everyone who supported me every step of the way and showed me that “happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light”. (Yes, I added a Dumbledore quote).
Major: Public Relations
Minor: in Sociology and Business Administration
Involvement:Marketing Director for Hispanic Heritage Month,
Founding Member Services Director for Hispanic Public Relations Student Association,
Research Assistant for the Advertising Department of the UF CJC,
Brother of Alpha Kappa Psi Business Fraternity,
Business Team Member for Swamp Records,
Treasurer of the Hispanic Communicators Association,
Treasurer for Habitat for Humanity,
Operations Director for DECA
My time at UF has flown by! I learned a lot not only through my classes but also through my involvement in the Hispanic community, professional organizations and others. A balance of these types of organizations is what have made my time at UF enjoyable, meaningful and worthwhile. It’s very rewarding to be able to talk about my campus involvement at a job interview as well as with younger students wanting to get involved for fun. I am very happy that the Hispanic community has been so welcoming since I stepped foot on this campus.
Major: Studio Art — Printmaking (BFA)
Mathematics (BS)
Minor: Japanese Language
Involvement:Preview Staff 2017,
Campus Diplomats,
Theatre Strike Force Comedy
I feel so lucky to be graduating with my brother as a third generation Gator. Ever since our Grandfather from the class of ’71, the college journey from Miami to Gainesville has become a rite of passage for members of our family. It is so cool to both carry on the traditions our parents and grandparents set here while also making new ones with my brother. My advice to all incoming students is to open themselves to as much of the college experience as they are comfortable with—who knows what opportunities can come out of it!