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Latinx Heritage Month

From Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. Poole College of Management celebrates the heritage and culture of our Latinx students, faculty, staff and community.

By Kevin Brewer, University Communications Contributing Writer

Vanessa Perdomo is from Colombia, but she also feels at home in the Poole College of Management. On New Year’s Eve, she dances into the night to vallenato music with her extended family. But the senior in business administration is also president of NC State’s chapter of the Association of Latino Professionals for America.

The nearly 250 Latinx students in Poole College are from all over the United States and throughout North, Central and South America — places like Colombia, Mexico, Ecuador and even North Miami Beach, Florida.

The college celebrates its Latinx students this month during NC State’s Latinx Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15). The celebration’s theme, conceived by the Latinx Heritage Month student committee, is Sin Limite! — an exclamation of Latinx people’s limitless potential.

Latinx to me is culture and pride.

“Latinx to me is culture and pride,” Perdomo said. “It is culture, because as a Colombian American, I identify as having Latin American roots and customs. It is pride, because the term refers back to many cultures’ different individual practices, dialects and even cuisine, and it can bring all of that together into one term that is inclusive to all.”

Francisco Burbano in Ecuador
Francisco Burbano, an economics graduate student, with his family in Ecuador visiting the Chimborazo mountain.
Vanessa Perdomo soccer
Vanessa Perdomo, a senior in business administration, with her father
Burbano Chicago Marathon
Burbano with his father, son and nephew holding the Ecuadorian flag after finishing the Chicago Marathon.

The term “Latinx” is still relatively new. It first emerged in 2004 from a social movement in the LGBTQ community. Since then, Latinx — which is gender-neutral and inclusive of nonbinary Latinos — has become common usage in mainstream media and scholarly activity since 2015.

In the past, Poole College has celebrated Latinx Heritage Month with a curated display showcasing Latinx stories on the third floor of Nelson Hall. For the past two years, the celebration also included a Barrio Party — a community lunch for the entire college with three food trucks.

Jessica Gomez Ayala in Mexico
Jessica Gomez Ayala, a senior in accounting and business administration, with friends in Mexico
Jessica Ayala flag
Ayala (left) and a friend representing their heritage in front of the Belltower.
Lionel Cabrera family
Lionel Cabrera (right), a MAC student, with his family

While the current pandemic has made scheduling events more difficult, several Latinx student groups are hosting the Mi Cocina (My Kitchen) Series on the Latinxistence Instagram page, where they will share some of their favorite dinners.

“A lot of things have to be online,” Perdomo said. “Most of the events were already online for safety reasons. People’s mindsets have changed slightly.”

A full list of virtual events — including the Keynote Speaker Series, a Professional Networking Night and Throwback Thursday — can be found here: go.ncsu.edu/latinx

“It’s not going to stop,” Perdomo said.

PROFILES in SIN LIMITE!

As part of Latinx Heritage Month, we asked Latinx students, alumni and staff members what Sin Limite! means to them and how their heritage has influenced their limitless potential. 

Vanessa Perdomo, senior in business administration

VANESSA PERDOMO

Year: Senior
Major: Business administration
Concentration: Marketing and information technology
Heritage: Colombian

What does Sin Limite! mean to you? It means motivated, hardworking and unstoppable. In literal translation, Sin Limite! means “without limits,” and this plays perfectly into what being a Latinx-identifying individual means. It means that no matter the challenge or adversity, you will find a way to rise above the occasion and be the best version of you that you can be. 

Describe your family traditions/history. On New Year’s Eve, we always gather around as a big extended family and start with some vallenatos Colombianos. This music is very cultural and features many rhythms and instruments popular in Colombia. We then dance until it is almost midnight. At 11:50 p.m., we get 12 grapes and put them into a champagne glass to eat at New Year’s. Once it is New Year’s, we wish our family members “Happy New Year” in order of seniority and then feast on our New Year’s meal.

Jessica Gomez Ayala
Jessica Gomez Ayala, senior in accounting and business administration

JESSICA GOMEZ AYALA

Year: Senior
Major: Accounting and business administration
Concentration: Information technology
Heritage: Mexican

What does Sin Limite! mean to you? To dream without limits. Never limit yourself from achieving what you want in life. Most of the time, our greatest limit is oneself and our own mindset. Once you overcome that, the sky is the only limit. Dream fearlessly and work hard toward your dreams. 

Describe your family traditions/history. My parents are from Jalisco, Mexico. They came to the United States in 1999 with nothing but dreams of better opportunities for me and my siblings. If it weren’t for my parents and all their sacrifices, I wouldn’t be here today.

KEVIN SALCIDO

Year: Senior
Major: Business administration
Concentration: Marketing
Minor: Spanish
Heritage: Mexican

What does Sin Limite! mean to you? To be Sin Limite! during a global crisis means to be always pushing the boundaries, it means exploring the unexplored and it means tackling both with courage. Whether it has been applying for new jobs, getting involved in my community or simply surviving a pandemic, I know the skills I’ve learned at NC State have continued to grant me numerous opportunities that have truly made me feel Sin Limite! 

Describe your family traditions/history. My family absolutely loves to keep in touch with each other, and ever since we found out about Zoom calls, one of our favorite things is keeping up with each other. Before the pandemic, we used to go on trips to visit family in Mexico. But between ticket prices, bureaucracy and now a pandemic, it’s kind of nice to have everyone comfortable in their own living rooms, exchanging jokes and laughs through a laptop screen.

Nicole Perdomo, freshman in business administration

NICOLE PERDOMO

Year: Freshman
Major: Business administration
Heritage: Colombian

What does Sin Limite! mean to you? Both my parents are immigrants. My dad came to America at age 16, knowing no English and with little money. He faced a lot of adversity, constantly being put down, yet still managed to attend UMass and become an electrical engineer. Hearing the numerous stories of the hardships my parents encountered coming to America and adjusting to life here has placed the theme of Sin Limite! in my life. I am pushed to always try my hardest and know there is no limit to what I can do. No matter the circumstances, I will always aim high, using my parents as an example of being able to succeed, although others may not believe in you.

Describe your family traditions/family history. The most important ones to me are food related. My mother is an amazing cook, so at least once a year, we choose a day where we wake up early and work through the day making empanadas or tamales. My mom will guide me and my two older sisters through every step, making sure they are perfect. My family emphasizes unity, so this simple tradition of being able to spend the day cooking together, bonding over food, is something I treasure very much.

Araceli Ponce de Leon, MBA student

ARACELI PONCE de LEON

Year: Graduate student
Major: Business administration
Concentration: Finance
Heritage: Hispanic

What does Sin Limite! mean to you? Sin Limite! implies that Latinos, like others, have the potential to not only reach their dreams and goals, but also to strive to become the best version of themselves. Despite hardships as a people, and perhaps because of those experiences that shape us, we push forward and put all of ourselves into everything we do. There’s no limit. 

Describe your family traditions/family history. Even though all my family lives in Mexico and I have not visited in a while, food is a good way to not only remain part of the culture but also to share the culture with those not native to it.

Lionel Cabrera, MAC student

LIONEL CABRERA

Year: Graduate student
Major: Accounting
Concentration: Internal auditing
Heritage: Mexican

What does Sin Limite! mean to you? Working past those obstacles that come up in life. I’m a first-generation Mexican American, as well as the first one in my family to get a college degree. Even though it took me eight years to finish my undergraduate degree, I continued with my mission. Now when I look at those obstacles that I overcame, and I ask myself how I did it, some of the examples would be working two jobs while in school, having to take legal guardianship of my brothers and trying to develop myself as an individual at a young age. 

Describe your family traditions/family history. Mexicans celebrate Christmas a day before the American version. My family was never really into the giving presents part. It was more about being together and spending time with each other and, of course, eating a gluttonous amount of food. Growing up, once a month, my mom would cook to get everyone together, to catch up with everyone. We did not have to wait for that one time a year to get together and catch up. Over time, I have developed my own traditions, such as Friendsgiving, and assimilated into the American concept of Christmas.

Karla Garibaldi, MAC student

KARLA GARIBALDI

Year: Graduate student
Major: Accounting
Concentration: Tax strategy
Heritage: Mexican

What does Sin Limite! mean to you? It means that any Hispanic person, but mainly Hispanic students, have no limitations on what they are aspiring to. They strive to work hard and accomplish things faster. As well as doing it efficiently. 

Describe your family traditions/family history. For me, it has been family reunions and get-togethers and making authentic Mexican dishes and sharing them with each other. As well as playing loteria, which is a traditional game in Hispanic culture. It’s similar to  bingo. Also, my family is very close, so we like to do anything together. Which makes everything much better and easier, because we get to spend more time doing things that are focused in our culture.

Andrew Hutchens, economics graduate student

ANDREW HUTCHENS

Year: Graduate student
Major: Economics
Concentration: Environmental and resource economics
Heritage: Peruvian

What does Sin Limite! mean to you? Sin Limite! symbolizes the mindset of not imposing any barriers on yourself or your aspirations, as well as the mindset of overcoming adversity, no matter when it arises. It captures the attitude of going after any goal you deem optimal without allowing any internal or external factors to hold you back. All that matters is setting your mind to accomplishing what needs to get done. 

Describe your family traditions/history. My family on my mother’s side has its roots in Oyolo, which is a small town situated in the Ayacucho region of Peru. I’ve experienced every facet of their rural culture since I was born, whether it was via my mother and aunt in my hometown of North Miami Beach or via my extended family during our trips to Lima. From invaluable life lessons to enjoying the entire spectrum of Peruvian cuisine, my Peruvian family and heritage is the bedrock to which I attribute my successes in life. Their emphasis on accumulating human capital through education is largely responsible for me being where I am today, and I take great pride in reciprocating their support by always putting forth my best effort.

Francisco Burbano, economics graduate student

FRANCISCO BURBANO

Year: Graduate student
Major: Economics
Heritage: Ecuadorian

What does Sin Limite! mean to you? Sin Limite! means that there are no barriers to achieving your goals. If a person trusts in their abilities, is organized, establishes clear objectives and is consistent in the actions they take every day to achieve them, there are no limits. Once the objective is reached, they will look for the next one. For me, this represents a culture of continuous improvement. Basically, you reach goals in your life, and you do not settle. Once you achieve success, you look for the next goal. 

Describe your family traditions/history. In 2014, my family and I moved to the United States from Ecuador. Our goal was to grow as a family and live a different experience. Without forgetting our traditions, we have been able to adapt to our environment. We enjoy friends, food and North Carolina customs. For us, it is particularly important that Jose, our 10-year-old son, can keep the customs of Ecuador alive. Every year, we return to our country to live the cultural experience. We always speak Spanish at home. We cook Ecuadorian food. We do things the way we would in Ecuador.

Alan Jimenez
Alan Jimenez, alumni with a bachelor’s degree in business administration

ALAN JIMENEZ

Year: Alumni (2019)
Major: Business administration 
Concentration: Supply chain
Heritage: Mexican

What does Sin Limite! mean to you? Sin Limite! is a slogan that people in the Latinx community identify with as soon as they hear it. All of us have the desire of achieving our goals, and we take small steps to make those dreams a reality. We know the journey is going to have setbacks, but the only limit is you! 

Describe your family traditions/history. My family has its humble beginnings in Guanajuato, Mexico. Where I am from, not many people have the opportunity to have higher education, but my grandfather motivated my father first and then me to not limit ourselves in what we wanted to achieve, to be professionals and give back to the community.

Gabe Gonzalez, alumni with a bachelor’s degree in business administration

GABE GONZALEZ

Year: Alumni (2016)
Major: Business administration
Concentration: Entrepreneurship
Minor: Accounting
Heritage: Venezuelan

What does Sin Limite! mean to you? Sin Limite! means we can make it happen. I came to NC State without any background that I considered relevant. I came with only a dream — the dream that I could make an impact in the community that I was joining and that I could inspire others back home that they could do that, too. There’s still a lot to accomplish, but I can now say that the dream came true. 

Describe your family traditions/history. I was born and raised in Venezuela. I came to Wake Tech and then NC State on a student visa. Now I am on a work visa, developing the NC State Entrepreneurship Clinic. Most of my family is still in Venezuela. I grew up spending Christmas with 30-45 family members. I still eat arepas almost every day (I make them myself) and enjoy all my Venezuelan traditional food — cachapas, pabellon and empanadas. My mom is from Guarenas, and my dad is from Caracas. I have a brother (who went to NC State) and a sister (she’s a doctor at the Cleveland Clinic). We all grew up in Venezuela and came to the states when the Venezuelan dictatorship solidified its grip on the country.

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