National Hispanic Heritage Month takes place each year from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15. In honor of the month, we are highlighting members of the Weatherhead School of Management community who are of Hispanic heritage to shed light on their experiences at the school and learn how they like to celebrate their heritage.
Joaquin Mendoza Ortega is a fourth-year student studying finance with an economics minor. He is also in the Master of Finance Integrated Program on the corporate finance track. Mendoza Ortega was born in Peru and raised in Puerto Rico, where he still lives when he is not on campus. Get to know more about Mendoza Ortega:
Why did you choose to study finance?
I chose this area of study because I have always liked numbers. After Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, many businesses went bankrupt and I wished I could have done something about it. With my major in finance, I would like to help companies grow in profit financially, but also give back to my home in Puerto Rico by teaching financial literacy and helping out where I can.
What do you love most about CWRU?
I love the diversity. Being from Puerto Rico, growing up I was mostly surrounded by Puerto Ricans. At CWRU, I enjoy getting to know and working together with people from all over the world.
Are you doing anything to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month?
I will try to visit Hispanic restaurants around Cleveland. Cleveland Mofongo and Rincon Criollo are some of my favorites.
As part of your Hispanic heritage, do you have any favorite traditions?
Being raised in Puerto Rico, I feel like Hispanic Heritage Month is every month. As a Latino what I miss the most are just hangouts with Latino music on, which is why I am looking forward to Noche Latina on September 23. Noche Latina is a big party La Alianza organizes at the Jolly Scholar once a semester.
Anything else you'd like to add about Hispanic Heritage Month?
I learned a lot more about my heritage and the Latinx community from being a part of the student group La Alianza as the vice president of finance for the past two years. There are many Latinos on campus that because of where they were raised in the U.S., don't feel comfortable speaking Spanish because of racism they or their parents may have faced in the past. This was something I had heard about but never experienced being from Puerto Rico. Growing up, I assumed all or at least most Latinos would speak Spanish. When I joined La Alianza, I learned this is not the case. In La Alianza we include everyone so it can be a safe environment for students no matter where you were raised, not to be ashamed of your heritage and to be proud to show it.
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