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  • Writer's pictureLa Voz Latina

Nicole Presentado

Escrito por:  Alexa Figueroa 🇸🇻

Headshot of Nicole Presentado. (Diana Rivera)

The hot stage light was hitting Nicole Presentado as she prepared to sing “Say You Won’t Let

Go” at her school's talent show. The shadows stared back at her but she kept her eyes on the

lights in front of her. When the song was over, she felt an immense amount of pride, a joy that

she is reminded of every time she feels she has gone out of her comfort zone.

“That was like one of the first moments where I finally learned that pushing myself to things will

have a better outcome... I feel like from there on out, I remind myself of how I felt during that

situation,” said Presentado.

Presentados mom is from Colombia and her dad is from Paraguay. While Presentado is

extremely proud of her culture, she grew up in what she describes as a predominantly white

town and found it hard to fit in.

“ I had a lot of difficulty in terms of trying to find out who I was, because a lot of the people that I

was surrounded by... were mainly white people. So I felt like I didn't really fit well into them. Or I

found myself trying to be like them, instead of trying to find myself and figure out who I was.”

When she first came to UMD she met other Latinos that were confident and sure in who they

are which inspired her to delve into her roots.

She came to join the Hermandad de Sigma Iota Alpha, Inc (SIA) sorority on campus in

which not only has she found a community, but also a support system.

“Even coming in, meeting the friends I have now, they say that I've changed a lot, I was a bit

more whitewashed, I guess you can say, versus now,” said Presentado. She says that her

experience at UMD made her want to learn more about her parents' culture and be proud of

where they come from.

Presentado is passionate about mental health and she wants to work in the mental health field,

possibly in psychiatry, by becoming a physician assistant (PA). She was originally majoring in

biology with the goal of attending medical school when she realized that she longed for better

work-life balance than being a doctor could provide.

“This is something that I want to do where I can interact with people and do something very

similar that a doctor would do but not have the four to eight year commitments that a doctor

would have,” said Presentado.

She had an experience that solidified her desire to focus on mental health while she was

volunteering at a clinic. She interpreted for a Latina patient who was experiencing depression.

“In terms of the Latino culture, mental health is looked down upon, or isn't seen as something

that can medically happen," said Presentado. “So, that's the first time that I was like, okay, this is

something that I want to do, especially help out the latino community in terms of making their

mental health issues seen and known.”

Presentado is planning to apply to a PA program soon and in the meantime will be working to

gain experience in a clinical setting.

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