Yet despite the statistics that said no, Jocelyn Flores continues to defy odds.
“My parents just wanted us to graduate high school,” said Flores, a senior communications major from Fayetteville. “Now, my younger sister and I are in college, and my older sister is in medical school.”
The Flores family became what it is today from humble roots. Her parents were born and raised in Mexico before migrating to the United States in hopes of a better future for their children.
“My parents’ childhood was really rough, and neither of them finished their education,” she said.
“They only finished elementary school. When my parents were around 18, they decided to come to the United States. I’m thankful for that decision and what they did for us because I wouldn’t have gotten this education.”
That education, however, has tested ties between Flores and some within the Hispanic community.
“Sometimes it’s shamed upon in our culture to do more than what’s expected, especially when it comes to education,” Flores said.
“A huge thing in the Hispanic culture is that you are born to be the mother, to have children—that’s the role we play. That’s all you do. With furthering my career, I know I’m doing it because I love it.”
This is where Flores breaks the mold.
As of May 2015, the Pew Research Center reported that while Hispanics are tripling their enrollment on college campuses, they are also one of the groups that “still lag other groups in obtaining a four-year degree.”
Flores, unlike the statistics, plans to continue her education and get her master’s degree in student affairs. She also hopes to inspire younger Hispanic students to pursue a higher degree of education by speaking to local high school students with intentions of removing stigma and educating students about their options.
The idea of educating younger Hispanics was originally spurred by a Hispanic Students Association meeting, an organization Flores is not only president of, but also had a hand in building.
“I took that responsibility and reestablished the organization by myself,” Flores said in an email. “Our main goal is to educate the public about the Hispanic community.”
HSA, which currently has eight executive board members and 20 general members, is open to all students of Hispanic descent.
“I want it to be a family,” she said.
While HSA has yet to take root on campus, Flores hopes she can return to Tech and witness growth.
“If I come back 10 years from now or 20 years from now, I want it to be a powerful organization that is culturally driven to get their name out there and to promote our diversity,” Flores said.