Yesenia Pedro Vicente ’13 came to Carolina as an undergraduate student from Morganton, North Carolina, and describes her college experience as “first-generation everything.” Pedro Vicente’s parents settled in North Carolina following the decades-long Guatemalan Civil War, which interrupted her parents’ education. They lived in southern Mexico as refugees before coming to the United States.
While in North Carolina schools, Pedro Vicente came to understand that her Mayan identity was often mislabeled as being Latina and that the nomenclature Hispanic and Latina did not encompass her identity as Maya.
As an undergraduate, Pedro Vicente found a community in the Robertson Scholars Leadership Program, a partnership between Duke University and Carolina, instead of with on-campus cultural groups that predominantly celebrated more popular Latine cultures.
Now, through her role with the Diversity and Student Success (DSS) program, Pedro Vicente wants to serve graduate students who have been historically marginalized or underrepresented.
“I want to help students who have similar experiences or obstacles,” said Pedro Vicente.