Arts & Life, Features

Miriam Hernandez: Opening the door for success

She always dreamed of attending college. Being undocumented was the roadblock to that dream. She received zero financial aid and had limited support from her teachers and counselors. “She picked up the pencil and did it herself,” her brother said. Miriam Hernandez will be next year’s ASI vice president.

She held back tears as she talked about the sacrifices her parents made to bring her and her siblings to America. Hernandez is undocumented. She said there was always a doubt about where she would attend college. Her parents dream for her to be educated is why they came to America, and it became her dream as well.

“It was the reason why my parents brought us to this country,” Associated Students Sen. Miriam Hernandez said. She said her parents sacrificed their family, tradition and culture to bring her to “the land of opportunity.”

On June 1, Hernandez will assume the position of vice president for ASI at California State University, Long Beach. Hernandez will join forces with next year’s ASI President Jose Salazar, the first undocumented president.

“Being undocumented has allowed [Jose and myself] to see the world very differently,” Hernandez said. “My status has allowed me to see all students and their circumstances.”

Hernandez’s brother, Juan Hernandez-Campos, played a big role in her run for vice president. Not only did he sponsor her campaign, but he also pushed and challenged her to become vice president.

“My sister is the kind of person that if she gets something into her head, and she wants to do it, she goes and does it,” Campos said.

Hernandez said that her brother, a Harvard graduate, is the inspiration behind her dream of attending college. She said that at Harvard, Campos was given the resources to be successful. As for herself, Hernandez said that she has had to “work hard to open the doors” of opportunity.

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Hernandez said she always had a hard time putting herself into “big positions.” It wasn’t until she was involved with the Dream Success Center task force that Hernandez felt her voice, as an undocumented student, wasn’t being heard. She decided that to be heard, she needed to become an ASI senator.

But the dream didn’t stop at becoming senator Hernandez reached for the stars and was able to become next years vice president.

While in office as a senator, Hernandez has worked closely with ASI Vice President Nayiri Baghdassarian. Their meetings lately have been less about senate and more geared toward Hernandez’s transition into the vice president role.

“I want to thoroughly transition her and I want her questions to be answered,” Baghdassarian said. “I am going to be here if she needs me but once she gets through that first month she is going to be fine.”

Being an undocumented leader at CSULB isn’t going to affect Hernandez’s role, Baghdassarian said.

“It is just one more bank of knowledge [Salazar and Hernandez] have for another demographic on campus,” Baghdassarian said.  “I think it would help that they are knowledgeable in those things but…their job is so much more.”

Hernandez has big goals for next year and encourages all students to take part of their community and be more involved on campus.

“[CSULB] is more than just a place to take classes, make it your home,” Hernandez said. “Be more active on campus, ask questions, read the newspaper, be informed with what is happening on campus and don’t let this experience get passed you.”

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