Elizabeth Nicole Santiago

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Sophomore, Sociology / Minors: Latino Studies, Social and Economic Justice

DSC00032Nikki Santiago is a sophomore originally from San Antonio, Texas. A Sociology major with minors in Latino Studies and Social & Economic Justice, Nikki is committed to serving the community through service-learning and leadership. Following her undergraduate studies, Nikki plans to pursue a Maters in Social Work and Masters in Public Health dual-degree. Based on her education in the Multicultural Competence Leadership Institute, Nikki aims to teach others about what it means to be tolerant and multiculturally competent by fostering and celebrating diversity in a more internationally focused world.

“As a member of minority groups, being both a woman and of the Latina/Hispanic background, I am inspired by efforts of this nature. Opportunities such as this grant me the chance to have a voice in how individuals from underrepresented groups and cultures, such as my own, are understood and appreciated. I graduated from the International School of the Americas (ISA), a global studies high school that promoted multicultural competence through service and project-based learning. While attending ISA, with the support of the Bezos Scholars Program, I cultivated the People Excited about Cultural Education (P.E.A.C.E) Initiative. This initiative was established as an effort to encourage students to consider new ways of thinking and to celebrate unique and diverse backgrounds. During this venture, I facilitated communication between educators and students about cultural limitations existing within a diverse campus community. Efforts promoting multicultural competency are important because we live in an increasingly interconnected network. In this age of globalization, individuals with diverse experiences can collaborate to generate new ideas, technologies, and ways of perceiving the world that may enhance the lives of many. By being intolerant, not only does the subjugated group(s) suffer, but so do those in authority as they miss out on opportunities to connect with cultures that are thriving with diverse perspectives.This program would also provide me with an opportunity to learn more about groups and cultures I am less familiar with. Diversity, inclusion, multicultural competency, and leadership are not only ideas I embrace by being at UNC, they are structures that I choose to embody in order to create and maintain a positive and productive lifestyle”