Escrito por: Dulce Ortiz 🇬🇹
Jaqueline Menjivar, Project Coordinator for the Office of Community Engagement on Oct.25,2023 (Ian Dalrymple)
Six months ago, Jaqueline Menjivar joined the University of Maryland’s Office of Community Engagement as a Project Coordinator and is making quite the impact, with more planned for the future.
Jaqueline was born in El Salvador, where she lived until she was 8 years old before coming to the United States with her family. After spending some time in New York, she came to Maryland, a place she soon called home. Through the transition from countries, she became aware of the difficulty first-generation families have in navigating through culture shock, language barriers, and the American education system. She shares that learning to adjust to the environment she lived in, the social culture of people her age, and finding a way to raise her younger siblings through it all was complicated, overwhelming, and stressful for a girl her age.
Around the time of Jaqueline’s 15th birthday, she was invited to participate in Langley Park’s “Mis Quince'' event. The several-week program entailed unique workshops, including some on self-defense and swimming, educational seminars on etiquette and public speaking, and community service events. When the program came to a close, Langley Park would provide a grand quinceñera celebration for all girls involved in the program.
Esta experiencia, y las experiencias que tuvo en su niñez, la inspiró a continuar en el mundo del servicio comunitario después de ver cuántos recursos hay para personas como ella. Vio el impacto y significancia de estos programas, y, cómo le ayudaron a ella y a su familia en su propia transición, decidió que le encantaría hacer lo mismo para las personas que están en situaciones similares.
“Quiero ayudar a mi comunidad y realmente hacer una diferencia, especialmente con la comunidad Latina,” dice Jaqueline. “They have many challenges in their life so being a helping hand is so nice.” Since then, Jaqueline has made community service one of her favorite and most passionate missions. She plans to earn a degree in Sociology from the University of Maryland to gain larger outreach and knowledge on the needs of her community.
She began her career in community outreach after high school when she was offered to work for the Department of Parks and Recreation for Prince George’s County (PG), as a part of the Outreach and Engagement Office. This position offered her many opportunities to learn more about the county and the people. It also led to her next job with the Prince George’s County Council, District 3, under Dannielle Glaros. There, she served as a connection and a resource for the county’s Latino population. She continued in this position under Eric Olson, before being offered to work with Director Gloria Aparicio Blackwell at UMD.
Her proudest achievement thus far was coordinating Good Neighbor Day, an annual community service event hosted by UMD to better connect the community with the university. She also was the assistant coordinator for this year’s Estudios Universitarios a su Alcance event and a proud supporter of the Latinas in Aviation exhibition.
Su tiempo con la universidad apenas comienza, pero está determinada en hacer una diferencia.
*Correction: Eric Olson was originally published as Eric Olsen and her position as assistant coordinator for this year’s Estudios Universitarios a su Alcance event was originally published as head coordinator. *