Escrito por: Alexa Figueroa
Photo by: Diana Rivera
If you’re looking to stay connected to your culture, Henry Velasco has your back. He prides himself on having a good latin playlist with artists like Eladio Carrión and Jhayco y por supuesto no se puede olvidar de las cumbias.
Velasco is a sociology major and grew up in PG County. El es salvadoreño and his parents are from Cabañas y Ilobasco.
Velasco is the president of the Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA) lo que lo ha ayudado a decidir continuar su educación como estudiante de posgrado en UMD. He will be studying business analytics at the Smith School. He received the Terrapins scholarship and considers it one of his biggest accomplishments.
“[Joining ALPFA] really opened my mind and eyes to different career paths, especially in the business school. Smith, it's a really really prestigious school, in my opinion. All the opportunities that I saw ALPFA open to their members, I was like, ‘I want that for myself.’”
Enfrentó muchas luchas durante su tiempo en la UMD. Formó parte de la clase que tuvo que cambiar del aprendizaje en persona al aprendizaje en línea durante COVID. He felt closed off and his social skills were affected.
Velasco también dice que cuando llegó a la UMD se dio cuenta de que muchos estudiantes de otros condados, como Montgomery y el condado de Howard, tenían un buen comienzo and he felt left behind particularly in math.
Coming to UMD, When I was here, I just realized, I wasn't as prepared as a lot of these students are…All these guys, they're pretty advanced in math, and I had to take the math placement test a few times before I could register for classes.”
His struggle with math is one of the reasons why he picked sociology as a major. When he took the required math classes in his freshman and sophomore years he realized that he could not enter any of the STEM majors because he was struggling in the lower-level math courses.
Velasco recuerda haber aprendido español durante su tiempo en la iglesia mientras crecía. La religión juega un papel importante en su vida.
“Por la noche, mi papá nos enseñaba a leer la Biblia en español... Cada noche,[leíamos] un pequeño capítulo con mi papá y mis hermanas juntos. Así que de ahí viene mi español.”
Va a la iglesia todos los domingos y trata de mantenerse conectado con los jóvenes de allí.
“I've always been in church, I can't see myself out of it either. I'm not saying I'm a perfect person but without it, I don't know, I’d probably be a mess.”
As Velasco will venture on to a new journey in the Robert H. Smith School of Business, he remembers one quote from the bible that describes this current moment of his life. “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,” Jeremiah 17:7-8
“Desde que naciste, dijimos que tú eras un regalo de Dios para nosotros y estamos orgullosos de ti.”