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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Veronica Isabel Sotelo – An Aspiring Leader Imparting Inspiration on Others

Her finger strums the musical strings of the guitar like the sun’s ray lifts the morning dew revealing earth’s beauty. The essence of music flows with her creative and innovative spirit like the wind rustling the trees’ leaves, as she strives to inspire others to uplift themselves and achieve what they previously thought to be impossible. This is the mission of Veronica Isabel Sotelo, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) senior with majors in political science, theater, and a certificate in cultures and the community.

Born is Leon, Mexico, Sotelo came to the United States with her family. She completed elementary school in Beloit, Wisconsin, and graduated from high school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She is fluent in Spanish and English, which she finds to be most advantageous. She encourages students to become bilingual and to use such skills to help others and for their own cultural advancement.

“During my first year at UWM, she enhanced her political knowledge with the College Democrats and the Latino Student Union (LSU),” Sotelo states. “My second year greeted me as the vice-president of LSU and my third year as the president. I sharpened her leadership skills during those periods. I believe that Latino students should seize the moment, and be encouraged to not let golden opportunities of leadership pass them by without getting involved,” Sotelo adds.

Realizing Latinos were missing such a golden opportunity of higher education to advance themselves, she produced a booklet with scholarship information outlining: guidance, funding sources, timelines, tips, and other invaluable information to motivate them in pursuing higher education. The booklet was produced by students for students and LSU held seminars at local high schools to disseminate the information. Thereafter, speaking engagements allowed her to address the holistic person as a part of their educational process. She believes that the speaking engagements allowed her to gain some experience in the local community, which was really great. She also believes that students should capture the moment to lead while in college and strive to enhance their leadership skills.

Sotelo describes her work as helping Latinos to achieve their goals of having access to higher education. They should know what it takes for college. The positive impact of her contributions in the community, and helping Latinos to develop great pride in themselves, are considered her to be her major accomplishments with LSU.

“These actions are critical today because Latinos do not have many resources, and they need more education to enter the professional markets to be role models, and impart positive influence on others while in high school,” she states. “Having a high school diploma is not enough; neither is dropping out of school and becoming engaged in gang involvement conducive to their welfare,” she continues. Sotelo finds great joy in helping others through the education process, thus allowing them to-be all they can be.

Regarding generational and cultural gaps, she sees language as a barrier for Latinos. “The first generation may not have attended college and is unaware of available advantages. This creates a wide barrier when assisting their children with school assignments. Additionally, the gap is widened when today’s generation gets involved in street activities, thus leaving parents at a loss because of the language and generational barriers.” Sotelo sees actions of this nature as adding to the negative stereotype of Latinos, which needs to be erased. She urges all Latinos to maintain a positive attitude and to stay positive while advancing their careers on the right track.

“The Latina Monologue has been a great feature for LSU regarding Latina women telling their own story. Additionally, LSU participated in cultural entertainment with the Black Student Union, Multicultural Student Center, Asian Student Union, and Kappa Delta Chi, which were co-sponsored by interested parties at UWM. We performed a series of exposures regarding multicultural stereotype activities based on how others wrongly judge a person,” she reflects. The monologue was also aired on “Morning Blend,” a daily Milwaukee television program, which gave positive exposure to Latinos.

Her vision of leadership also gained her recognition as a community advocate for voting and immigrants’ rights. She helped organize students to increase the Latino vote and promote the events. She felt it was very interesting and she learned a lot about the political arena, and urges other students to get involved. Several of her community activities were published by Voces de la Frontera, a Spanish publication. This featured Latinos in a positive role with involvement in the political arena.

“Bilingual education is of vital benefit to American society, and there is a need for professionals to be educated in more than one language. I used to help with medical translations. When a mother does not understand a medical professional that could be problematic,” she declares. In her opinion, bilingual students should strive to help their parents understand the current state of affairs concerning today’s society, instead of just using it to talk around their parents.

She spends her summers at the United Community Center (UCC) in South Milwaukee as a tutor and mentor to elementary school students. Previously she worked for the Youth Volunteer Corps as a math and social science tutor.

She loves walking by the lakefront and downtown for relaxation. “The water is so beautiful in the summer; however, I do not like the extreme coldness of the winter or excessive heat in the summer. It is so different from Mexico where the cool breeze on a person’s face is so refreshing all year. I also missed the fresh fruits and special dishes from Mexico.” She urges Latinos not to abandon their primary cultural heritage; however, they should add to it in order to advance and enrich their positions in life.

Regarding her hobbies, she states that she loves to draw portraits, play the piano, and pick the guitar, which she used to do with her aunts. However, her final outlook is to make others better, serve as an inspiration, and to get Latinos more committed to the educational process. Sotelo is ecstatic that she is able to accomplish these goals through the mediums which UWM offers her as an inspiring undergraduate student. Finally, she states “Latinos should get into school, stay in school, and become involved with the educational process to advance their outlook and enhance their career prospective.”

Joseph S. Spence, Sr. (aka “Epulaeryu Master”), authored “The Awakened One Poetics” (2009), published in seven languages, “A Trilogy of Poetry, Prose and Thoughts for the Mind, Body and Soul,” and “Trilogy Moments for the Mind, Body and Soul.” Joseph is a Goodwill Ambassador for Arkansas, and is a US Army veteran.


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