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Poole Latinx Community Share Stories on What Success Means to Them

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Beginning September 15 to October 15, NC State and the Poole College of Management celebrates Latinx Heritage Month by recognizing the important presence of the Latin American community and sharing the experiences and identities of our students, faculty, staff, alumni and community. This month allows Latin American students to present issues facing their community and what it means to be Latinx, as well as help build allyship and understanding throughout the Poole College.  

As a part of the Latinx Heritage Display Reveal, we asked students, alumni and staff members to share their success stories and how their heritage has been a part of their achievements. The display that showcases artwork and the full versions of these student success stories can be found on the third-floor display case in Nelson Hall.

Poole Community Latinx Success Stories

Mauricio Carillo

Year: Alumni (2019)
Major: BA & International Studies 
Concentration: Supply Chain Management & Latin America
Minor: Ethics & Spanish
Heritage: Mexican

“Success lies in knowing that your future depends on your actions and behavior. One of my proudest accomplishments is receiving the Benjamin A. Gilman scholarship. To help achieve this, I involved myself in situations where I would meet people from around the world. This included living in a dorm where students studying abroad and students from the US coexisted. I allowed myself to dream big and think of the impact I could have at NC State. I also created a blog that advocated for study abroad in less popular countries as well as providing support and encouragement for low-income students to study abroad.”

Gabriel Gonzalez

Year: Alumni (2016)
Major: Business Administration
Role: Program Manager for the Entrepreneurship Clinic
Heritage: Venezuelan 

“I define success as waking up everyday eager, proud, and happy to do what you love. One of my proudest accomplishments is being one of the few Latinos running a Startup Accelerator at a major university, as well as managing the Entrepreneurship Mentors Network at NC State. The process is simply, gravitate towards good, high achieving people, and work a lot. Countless opportunities will come that way. To help drive my success I optimize my time for engaging with people who are looking for ways to make an impact.”

Gretchen Grajales

Year: Alumni (2019)
Major: MBA
Concentration: Supply Chain
Heritage: Puerto Rican

“Success is the result of taking a risk, understanding why if things don’t work, and trying it again in a different way. One of my proudest accomplishments is establishing a Puerto Rican food business in NC, Spanglish, without any prior business or restaurant experience. My friends and I had to establish our goals, educate ourselves in the restaurant world while learning the requirements to obtain permits to serve food in NC. The three of us were in a new situation so we had to organize, identify our strengths and weaknesses, and use that to help our business. Establishing goals and not being afraid of failure, nor being afraid of asking questions are traits that have helped me with my success. My heritage has taught me resilience, the ability to do my best with what I had available.”

Carmin Nurinda

Year: Junior
Major: Business Administration
Concentration: Marketing
Minor: Sociology 
Heritage: Nicaraguan

“I define success as someone achieving the goals they make for themselves and finding happiness in the process. One of my proudest accomplishments is how quickly I got involved at NC State and attaining internships with companies that have implemented a form of social responsibility and give back to their community. Another huge role to my success is my heritage. Being a first-generation student in this country, I understand the privilege that I have just by being able to go to university classes and knowing this has driven me to work as hard as I can to achieve my goals and be involved in the Latinx community.”

Adriana Ortiz

Year: Senior
Major: Business Administration 
Major: IT 
Heritage: Mexican

“I define success through mi mama because she has been my rock since I was little. As long as she is proud of me and my accomplishments, I believe I have succeeded. Being accepted into NC State as a first-generation college student is one of my biggest accomplishments. It was also a learning experience for myself and my parents as we were unfamiliar with the educational system in the United States. My next biggest accomplishment was involving myself in the Latinx community here on campus as it has brought me closer to my culture and allowed me to meet so many astounding people.”

Daniela Patino-Zabaleta 

Year: Senior
Major: Business Administration
Concentration: Marketing
Minor: Arts Entrepreneurship
Heritage: Colombian

“Success to me is achieving a state of happiness that comes from being passionate about one’s profession and having a network of unconditional love there to witness and support that journey. This past summer, I was invited to star in the closing act of the 200th anniversary of Colombia’s Independence Battle held for political and military leaders including the Colombian vice president. I sang a traditional song accompanied by 115 musicians from 3 national philharmonic orchestras in one of the most recognized theatres of Latin America. I trained extensively for months in preparation, it was a life-changing experience that allowed me to find my purpose in life!” 

Jesus Quintana

Year: Alumni (2019)
Major: Physical Education 
Role: Housekeeping Services
Heritage: Cuban

“Defining success can be complicated. It’s a word that requires a lot of persistence to truly fulfill. Many times you face obstacles but insisting that you won’t be denied until you achieve your goal is a success. In Cuba, I was a professor in the sports school of medicine teaching in the athletics field for over 20 years. This was the reward for my perseverance in graduating from university in Cuba. In coming to the United States, I learned adaptability and obtained licenses in electricity and universal air conditioning systems. I’ve learned to adapt to any situation. You have to move forward, there’s no other choice, and that has been my best area of growth.”