Dease Scholar maintains culture with Spanish major – Newsroom

When Adalí Flores-Mendoza ’23 attended Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in her hometown of Minneapolis, she thought she would attend a big college in a big city like Chicago, Los Angeles, or New York. But when she started looking closely at which schools were best for her as a first-generation Mexican American, she decided to also apply to the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul — a campus that led her to exclaim “que lindo” – “how beautiful.”

Her mother told her that “Tommies got a job,” and it resonated with Flores-Mendoza, who has many career dreams, including starting as a social media manager, spending time as a teacher of English in Japan or South Korea, and one day rise to the editorship of a major magazine. So she went after Saint Thomas.

Adalí Flores-Mendoza ’23 shows off a temporary tattoo to promote vaccinations.

“When it came time to look at the financial aid packages, I had a gap of about $10,000,” she said of what she could actually afford. “I knew I wanted to live the college experience on campus and be debt free. From an immigrant family, the second in my family [behind a brother] going to college – I knew it was up to me, so I worked hard.

As president of her high school class with 300 volunteer hours – well beyond the 40 hours required for graduation – her outstanding academic performance and strong leadership in her community, along with an exceptional essay, have led St. Thomas to grant him entry into the competitive Dease Scholarship Program, which comes with a full scholarship.

A St. Thomas admissions counselor surprised her with the news in high school that day by handing her an envelope to open. When Flores-Mendoza read the insert, he said, “Congratulations.”

“I remember thinking, ‘I can’t believe this,'” she said. “I looked up and said, ‘Can I call my mom’?”

Her mother was driving to work when she heard the news. Flores-Mendoza recalls her enthusiastic response being, “My daughter is going to the best private school in Minnesota. We started crying. Then she stopped and said, “So you’re going, aren’t you?” So I knew I was going to come here.

She is now a junior with a triple major in Communication Studies, Spanish and English with a focus on professional writing.

“Spanish was not originally going to be major or minor, but I don’t want to lose a lot of my identity,” she said. “I came from an elementary school and high school that were full of minorities — people who looked like me — to a class where sometimes I was the only one.”

Her Spanish language skills and strong cultural identity helped her get selected to appear in one of the very first Spanish-language versions of St. Thomas’ “We Are Tommies” television campaigns.

“I wanted to do it because it was going to be on Univision – I grew up on Univision. My grandmother and I bonded through telenovelas.

She said it was important for her to learn about other cultures and multiculturalism and to share her culture with others. She was in the campus multicultural club, and in high school she was a feminist club co-facilitator, a member of the sexual gender alliance, a changemaker fellow, involved in the sustainability club, and in St. Thomas was in government. undergraduate student. .

She is already starting to realize some of her dreams. On campus, she was a social media intern for the Office of the Vice President of Student Affairs and is now a student worker with ITS, the Department of Innovation and Technology Services.

Her name is Adalí Flores-Mendoza and she is proud to be a Tommie.

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