9/26/22 Katya Echazarreta gives talk, Echazarreta talks to crowd 2

Katya Echazarreta's keynote talk was part of a series of National Hispanic Heritage Month events organized by Purdue's Latino Cultural Center.

To first-generation Latinx students,

In September, Katya Echazarreta came to campus. The first Mexican-born female astronaut shared her story with us, one that I believe resonated with us all.

Us first-generation Latinos come from families that do not know what an education is. Some of our parents didn’t finish high school and came to this country in hopes that we could.

My grandmother, just like Echazarreta’s, was married off at a young age. My grandmother didn’t shave her hair in protest, instead she accepted her marriage. She had my mother, and this system of young marriages continued.

The women in my life are strong, they did what they could with what they had. They came to the U.S. in search for a better way of life.

We, as Purdue’s Latinx students, are breaking systematic barriers. We are breaking cultural norms such as machismo, marianismo and familismo. We are now instructors to our parents. We are teaching them that it is OK to voice their feelings.

The “ponte las pilas” mentality has led to the generational cycle of trauma and survival. This needs to stop.

As first generation students, we are the ones that say in our lineage “hasta aquí.” This cycle ends with me. Now we can thrive.

– Joseline Cruz Medina, freshman in the College of Liberal Arts

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