Place you consider home: Elizabeth, New Jersey
Describe your academic interests: Throughout my undergraduate career, I realized that there was a significant need to increase the representation of U.S Latinx in mainstream media. The problem with our current media landscape consists not only of a lack of Latinx personalities in mainstream media, but a proper representation of our communities. Representations are out of sync with the current and future population of the United States. By 2050, the U.S Latinx population is set to reach 125 million, shifting white America into the 49.7 percentile. The Latinx population will become America's largest media consumer. According to the Latin Gabe Media Report, 94% of Latinx listen to the radio and 25% of movie tickets are purchased by U.S Latinx. Yet Latinx people play a very small role in the production of this media. From 2000 to 2009, Latinos accounted for 2.4% of directors, 0.8% of producers, and 0.6% of writers. When I first realized this discrepancy, this lit a fire within me to make a change in the status quo in American media. By acquiring higher education, something that so many within my community struggle to accomplish, I would be able to research the many ways in which proper representation can shape social change and create a better image of groups that are considered not American within the United States.
What has been the most exciting academic experience at MCC so far? The course that was most exciting for me was, Critical Video: Theory & Practice with Nicole Starosielski. The course introduced me to the use of documentary, ethnographic, and research-based video to investigate and critique contemporary culture (in my case the misrepresentation of U.S Latinx’s). Furthermore, the class gave me conceptual tools to analyze video.
Tell us about the work you did in your first year in residency at Weber Shandwick: I was placed on the United Minds team. I went through a combination of formal training and “on the job” development to help others on the team. Furthermore, I contributed to client projects and provided research in areas including culture, communications, brand and diversity.
How has the Weber Shandwick residency challenged you? It's challenged me in many ways. To begin, the work culture was different. My assigned group's customs are austere and not necessarily socially engaging. For example, most employees go straight to their desk and begin work on their computers, all meetings are set-up through emails, and most conversation is conducted through email as well. Granted, I understand the clients work takes priority, however, the places I have worked for in the past were more social. Thus, I struggle to feel valued, and comfortable, because of the lack social engagement.
What was most stimulating about your summer research project on DEI? Corporations' lack of knowledge about institutionalized racism coupled with consumers' focus around racial issues, means it's become increasingly difficult for brands to demonstrate meaningful impact to consumers. I believe helping to dismantle institutionalize racism is very meaningful. I believe this type of evaluation and assessment could be invaluable to clients, offering a roadmap for moving from good intentions to best practices. I am enjoying this summer project because we have help from the analytics department. They are mentoring and teaching us on how to use analytical software for our research. Though I have very little experience with analytics, I love the fact that this tool could be essential not only for this project but for personal skills that can land me future employment.