As a sophomore at Ball State University, I had the opportunity to give a campus tour to a unique group of students. This tour was different than others because it was for a group of prospective Hispanic students who would all be the first in their families to attend college. When I asked what they were interested in studying and what they were looking for in a university, their options for majors and minors were unlimited – and so were their goals and ambitions.
I was reminded of this experience after reading a recent article from PRSA entitled, “Why Are Hispanics and Other Minorities Missing from Public Relations?” The author talks about how cultural experiences and backgrounds can sometimes conflict with career goals.
When I think about the first-generation college students I gave a college tour to in 2013, I also think about my father, full-Mexican, who was choosing a university and area of study in the 1980s. In my parents’ generation, growing up in a traditional Hispanic home meant you were encouraged to pursue a career in a STEM field. These jobs were practical and stable, during a time when opportunities for minorities were limited. Degrees in communications, public relations and media weren’t the norm for those who might have grown up in a traditional Hispanic home. Although my father did grow up in a traditional Hispanic home, he ended up pursuing a career in journalism. He faced his fair share of trials in this industry, but I believe my father and the rest of the Hispanic generation that came before me truly paved the way to success for myself and other future minorities. The trials and tough conversations my father faced, definitely made it easier for me when choosing a career path.
After reading this article and thinking back on mine and my family’s experiences, I think it’s crucial to remember that it isn’t the 1980s, and although we still have a long way to go as far as equal opportunity in the workplace, career goals should be unlimited.
At Borshoff, we’re preparing to invite minority students from surrounding universities to our annual Diversity Internship Boot Camp next month, where we will teach freshmen and sophomores about internship opportunities at Borshoff and equip them with the knowledge they need to develop into standout interns. I encourage these students to come with open minds and no limitations on their career goals. Minorities are a growing part of the U.S. population, much more than they were in the 1980s. Careers are evolving and limitations are diminishing. So, the question becomes, how can a minority perspective benefit public relations?