They are eager Latino students looking for real-world experiences as they gain assistance from the Indiana Latino Institute (ILI) staff who guide them to educational opportunities, career preparation, and career research projects and internships. Marian University Senior Juan Carlos Gonzalez Navarro’23 says it’s a much-needed program in the Latino community.
“It’s really important to me because it’ll primarily help with my career as a future engineer,” Gonzalez Navarro said. He’ll work this summer as a mechanical engineer with Integrated Nano Systems Development Institute. “I’m thankful ILI has a lot of benefits and resources we in the Latino community may not ordinarily be exposed to as I am looking forward to conducting research in my internship.”
Gonzalez Navarro, a third-year ILI program member, was one of a dozen students around the state who met at Marian University recently for a half-day internship pre-start session starting with breakfast, a brief encouragement lecture, and other tips. Marian Alumni Daniela Alaniz ’19 spoke about best practices. “My best advice to students as they start their internships is to believe in yourself and be your own self-advocate. That way you’ll be able to open doors with opportunities you only dreamed about.” Alaniz knows that first hand. She participated in the same ILI program and now works as Marian University’s bilingual recruiter assisting other Marian Latino students with navigating college applications, career preparation advice, and more.
“Ask questions too. If you don’t know something, speak up so you’ll have that knowledge and better prepare yourself.” Alaniz added.
“This is an opportunity to help our Latino students find options in their field of study while also gaining valuable internships,” said ILI Education Program Director Maria Quiroz. “Many of our first-generation students don’t have the information, professional development, mental health support, and college coaching offered by our program.” Quiroz has guided ILI’s success for the past two years and assisted other students like Enrique Mares-Villicana, a senior at the University of Indianapolis and a first-year intern.
“For me, I haven’t had these types of opportunities before. It just wasn’t known in the Latino community. But now that I’m in the program, it’s given me the confidence and the professionalism I need as I focus my efforts to become a clinical psychologist,” Villicana said. He’ll serve his internship with the Indiana Latino Institute.
For 10 weeks this summer, students will serve in program sites around the state including Marian University, IUPUI, Indiana University Health Bloomington, Tellis Executive, and more. “We have a great partnership between Marian and ILI,” said Manuela Salazar, executive director of Marian’s Latino Leadership Initiative. “This is really important and helpful for our Latino students who need that extra support.”
The internship program is just one part of the Indiana Latino Institute, which focuses on increasing college access and success, as well as professional leadership development opportunities. Other programs include college access targeting high school students, college success, workforce development, and a higher education consortium focusing on Latino student enrollment, retention, and completion rates. The icing on the cake also means interns will receive scholarships after completing their internship.
“We are proud of all of our students and want to reach more as we have scholarships for up to 30 student interns annually, so we need to reach more,” said Quiroz. “We’ve reached out to many, and some contact us, but others haven’t. We realize student success is not only theirs and ours but the entire Latino community because they will touch others and make a difference.”
And making a difference by assisting others to make a better life for themselves, their families, and their communities is what the Indiana Latino Institute is all about. Click to learn more.