Lessons about the real world
Chanel Sanchez is a Cuban Towson University alum who fought her way into the work force as a fourth grade teacher in Ellicott City.
“I got my job three days before school started in August, so it doesn’t sound like very long, but for someone who is going to be a teacher, that is like ripping out your hair.” Sanchez said. “Schools start hiring in June after school is done and to not hear anything all summer until three days before school starts is very stressful.”
But before Sanchez was overcoming obstacles, she was involved in Towson’s Latin American Student Organization (LASO) from when she was a freshman in 2009 and became an officer every year until graduation.
She returned to Towson Wednesday for the “LASO in the Real World” event, which invited alumni students to discuss life after graduation.
Now, Sanchez is the first and only Hispanic teacher at her school. Sanchez and the other alumni told the audience that though finding a job may not be easy, especially as Latin Americans in a predominantly white work force, that doesn’t mean to give up.
In fact, it took alum and former LASO president Jessica Calle three months to get a job, and even longer to land the career she wanted – a police officer for Baltimore County.
Calle said that her everyday life is difficult in a work force mainly composed of white men.
But that’s where LASO comes in, Calle said, by offering a place for those in the Latin American community.
“I met all of my friends through LASO,” Calle said. “The activities and involvement created a bond and a positive experience.”
It was that bond that brought the alumni back to Towson for “LASO in the Real World.”
“We wanted to expose to our fellow members to what our LASO active members are doing currently in their lives,” Neysi Velasquez, senior and vice president of LASO, said. “And…to incorporate how important being involved is on campus and how that guided them to pursuing their careers and their future.”
LASO President Yesica Hernandez said that holding alumni events within the organization is an untapped event market.
“We decided to bring back the people who were involved in LASO to see how they’re doing in the real world,” Hernandez, a senior, said. “We wanted to inform others that there is a job out there for you.”
Senior Quadri Muse is not a member of LASO, but attended “LASO in the Real World.”
“I learned that school is not that hard, it is what you make it,” Muse said. “It’s all about taking your opportunities in life. Every field has different opportunities and it’s about taking those opportunities by the horn and running with it so you can build on what you learn in school and transition into your career path.”
Muse said that the event brought together both LASO and non-LASO students, as well as members of the community both graduated and not.
“Everyone here is like a family,” Muse said. “It’s an open forum where you can say your opinion and express how you feel. Nobody is here to belittle you because of your opinion, so I really liked the event.”