Throughout Hispanic Heritage Month, Austin Community College District (ACC) sits down with influential and accomplished faculty and staff to discuss what Hispanic Heritage Month means to them.
Dr. Laura Marmolejo is the department chair for Advanced Manufacturing. She has worked at ACC for nearly two decades.
Why is it important to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month? How do you celebrate your heritage?
It is important to understand our community and the influences of other cultures. It helps broaden our views and connects us as one group. Lack of understanding only leads to misunderstandings.
I try to celebrate it by sharing my family's experiences with others. I try to celebrate it every day.
What advice would you give to our Hispanic/Latinx students?
I would say that I think it's important for them to embrace their heritage while expressing who they want to be in the future. We are a unique combination of two worlds and we get to choose how to integrate them into something special.
What is your biggest inspiration?
I am always inspired when people succeed despite challenges. It makes me want to do more to support more students in reaching their goals.
What is your proudest achievement?
Some people think it is getting my doctorate. But, my proudest achievement was getting my bachelor's degree — that one was the hardest because I had no idea where I was going and it took me so long to complete it.
How do you foster an inclusive environment?
By finding a common ground; we all share something. Once you find it, the connection begins. I always try to make sure my students know that I am here for them.