My first experience at ALPFA was actually with several classmates of mine at Trinity Lutheran College. A group of us wondered if there were any resources out there that would help prepare students of color or other minority backgrounds for careers and positions we wanted to be in. Fortunately one of us came across ALPFA. When we noticed the impact ALPFA had on other’s lives, it was decided that we needed to get involved. Once we were able to get a club up and running, which in a school of 250 students was wildly successful, we were able to expand our network of resources and help others do the same. I know, and will remember my first experience at ALPFA as one which encouraged me to grow, collaborate and think outside the box in order to further my professional journey.
Historically there has been little to no resources out there for minority students- even less for someone who happens to form part of various minority groups- a first generation college student, a woman of color and an immigrant. I come from a household that taught me hard work, determination and grit; we value curiosity, excellence and perseverance. The only lessons missing were those that dealt with spaces my family had never occupied, this is where ALPFA came in. Through professional development courses, workshops and guest speakers I was able to glean information on how to break into, fit into and succeed in professional settings. Some of the most important lessons are those we learn and then make our own- things like a 30 second introduction that captivates an audience, a resume that is both professional and unique and making your presence known. ALPFA teaches us the framework and basics of professionalism while offering space and encouragement for us to build on that with flavors derived from our personalities and cultural backgrounds.
I believe that one of the strongest deterrents to the success of many Latinx students is lack of opportunity. It is evident that systems in this country are not built for people of low socioeconomic backgrounds, people of color, women, etc. because of this, it is difficult to navigate environments not welcoming of us without feeling like one is not adequately prepared and knowing that if an opportunity arises we must be prepared to be the best right there and then or risk losing it forever.
ALPFA takes this space and transforms it into one that offers opportunity and resources for a talented community that may otherwise not have this kind of access. Opportunity is what separates many from achieving their full potentials which is why I value ALPFA’s work so much. By opening this space, ALPFA is doing its part to facilitate and promote growth in our community in ways that are accessible and sustainable for future classes of students and professionals.