Posted on October 12, 2023 by Rebekah Alegria

Meet Stephanie Florez, a half-Korean, half-Columbian undergraduate real estate finance and development student graduating in the spring of 2024.

UTSA is proud to be a federally-designated Hispanic Serving Institution. Our foundation underpins our commitment to positioning Hispanic students, staff and faculty for growth, leadership and success. This month, we celebrate the Hispanic Heritage of the students and faculty roaming the halls of the Carlos Alvarez College of Business.

Stephanie Florez headshot How does your culture impact your everyday life?

Even though my mom is Korean, she was raised in Ecuador and throughout our household we speak Spanish. Growing up speaking Spanish at home has impacted my everyday life by connecting me and bringing me closer to my Hispanic heritage.

What does it mean to you to be Hispanic?

For me, being Hispanic means perseverance. That no matter what obstacles come your way, we will stand up with a positive mindset and conquer it. Si se puede!

Why is it important to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month?

I believe it’s important to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month in order to remember how far we have come. Our ancestors have sacrificed so much in order for us to have the opportunities we have today, and embracing our culture is a way we can show our gratitude. I also believe celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month allows us to not become out of touch with our culture and to continue not only embracing it but spreading it.

If you could share advice about embracing your culture, what would it be?

Always be your true authentic self. Sometimes we change ourselves in order to “fit” in with those around us, but being your true authentic self will always outshine being someone you are not. By embracing your true authentic self, embracing your culture will follow shortly after as each of our backgrounds are so unique and deserve to be represented. Don’t ever be afraid or embarrassed of embracing who you are.

— Rebekah Alegria