Latino first-generation students tackle generational cycles and stigmas

Andrea Molina
Staff Writer

The University of La Verne’s Latino Student Forum organized an event with Estrella Serrato, creator of the Latinx-themed podcast “Cafecito con Estrellita,” on April 13.

There were 23 people in attendance and the event was not recorded. 

“Cafecito con Estrellita” aims to guide first-generation students through the path of higher education by giving tips on how to succeed in college and get into graduate school.  

Jessica Carrillo, junior criminology major and club president for the Latino Student Forum, was the main organizer of the event. 

“The University of La Verne is a Hispanic serving institution, therefore Hispanic issues should be addressed,” said Carrillo. 

In fact, Hispanic students represent 27% of all first-generation college students in the United States. 

Carrillo said the club wanted to provide resources for Latinx students and provide a safe space for students to share their personal experiences and struggles. 

In her podcast, Serrato talks mainly in English but also uses some common Spanish phrases to connect with her fellow Hispanic listeners. 

For this meeting, Serrato focused not only on academics but also on students’ mental health, self-love and self-acceptance. 

Serrato is a graduate student in teacher education at a California State University. She obtained her associate’s degree at Irvine Valley College and her bachelor’s degree at the UC Santa Barbara.   

“Cafecito con Estrellita” last year, airing its first episode May 20, 2020. It was Serrato’s personal experiences and struggles as a Latinx student that inspired the podcast.  

“I focus on all of the academic and social stigmas that fall on first-generation Latinx students,” Serrato said. 

Furthermore, Serrato said her mission is to be a resource for all of her listeners and break down the social, family and academic stigmas that try to limit first-generation scholars.  

The podcast navigates many topics in students’ lives, including the importance of boundaries within families, building healthy relationships, eliminating toxic relationships and tips to becoming more involved in the community. 

Zulelalee Escobar, junior broadcast television major and vice-president of the Latino Student Forum, said this event allowed Hispanic students to understand that they are not alone. 

“Life is about going through your own experiences and doing what’s best for you,” Escobar said. “ It is okay to break generational cycles and pursue your dreams.” 

Furthermore, Escobar said she found this event to be a great networking opportunity for Hispanic students as the majority of the audience was involved and interacting with one another through the Zoom chat. 

Amanda Ontiveros, junior psychology major and director of marketing of the Latino Student Forum, said the LSF’s main goals are to be a bridge for Hispanic students and the University and to bring together the Latinx community on campus. 

“We want students to feel welcomed and help make their college experience as great as possible,” said Ontiveros. 

Moreover, Ontiveros said Serrato exceeded her expectations and the event was a success, as everyone felt more motivated in the pursuit of their goals. 

At the end of the event, members of the audience were able to ask Serrato personal questions regarding her journey as a student as well as specific life advice. Two prizes were raffled, including a JBL Flip 5 speaker and one set of AirPods 

“Cafecito con Estrellita” can be found in the social media platforms of Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and in its own website cafecitoconestrellita.com

Andrea Molina can be reached at andrea.molinamartinez@laverne.edu.

Andrea Molina

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