Student Statements

Read what Penn Latino/a students and Alumni have to say about attending the University of Pennsylvania…

“Becoming involved with la Casa meant finding a community I could count on. I met so many friends through La Casa, and going to events hosted by its constituent groups like ACELA, MECHA, ONDA and so many others really enriched my Penn experience. I felt happy to have found a community with whom I shared a heritage, something I didn’t experience growing up. Thank you La Casa, I might never get this experience again. I’m glad you welcomed me with open arms since freshman year!”

Leah Umfrey
The School of Arts and Science
Class of 2013

“When I first arrived at Penn, one of the first people I met was America at La Casa who introduced me to the center and made me feel welcome and at home. La Casa has been a place of support and comfort for me throughout the last four years. I was a mentee as part of the Mentorship pathways program my freshman and sophomore year and having a mentor that I could talk to, vent to, and gain guidance and support from really helped me get through some tough times and adjust to a new environment. I really enjoyed attending many of the La Casa events and meeting other people. Then my junior year I was a mentor, and it was so rewarding to return the favor that my mentor had given me. It felt great to be there for someone else as they made the transition too. La Casa has always been a place where I felt comfortable and I think thats because of the wonderful staff that works there! It’s been a place that has helped me grow 🙂 “

Lauren Rodriguez
Class of 2013

“La Casa Latina has meant a lot to me in the interactions that I have had with it.  It is a safe space where I feel free to stop by for no reason.  It is a place that is warm and homey that always makes me smile.”

Danny Keyes
The Wharton School
Class of 2013

“La Casa means a home away from home. It’s a place where Hispanic students can come together over their similarities and differences. It’s a place that cultivates leaders and it’s a place where one makes lasting friendships. This is the only place on campus that truly cares about our success. I have seen this over my 4 years here and I only wish I could bring La Casa with me to NYC next year.”

Amy Hernandez Trucio
The Wharton School
Class of 2013

“There are very few opportunities at Penn and in life where you can be surrounded by individuals who genuinely want to see you succeed. Fortunately for me, I was able to experience this through La Casa Latina. During my four years at Penn, La Casa Latina has remained a source of love and comfort in the middle of what could sometimes be a isolating environment. This Center was the first place at Penn where I genuinely felt welcomed, and the Staff has worked endlessly to ensure that my peers and I had the best possible experience during our four years. Thank you so much to Johnny, Maritza, America, and Patty, for making sure I had the time of my life.”

Sasha Marie Lagombra, New York, NY
The Wharton School | Economics
Class of 2013

“After entering La Casa Latina for the first time, I finally met students who endured through the same sacrifices my family and I made to reach Penn.  La Casa Latina undoubtedly reassured me that I belonged at Penn, and that as a community, we were all building a new legacy for the university.”

Oscar Benitez, Los Angeles, CA
School of Arts and Sciences
Class of 2009

“The excellence of the education Penn offers is a given.  But what makes Penn an experience truly unique from other universities is the degree to which the entire community — students, faculty, and administrators — constantly engages in serious intercultural dialogue.  Not only is the University supportive of minority students and their cultures, but it fosters opportunities for recognition and celebration of the communities and experiences that students proudly represent during their time on campus.  The cultural resource centers like La Casa Latina are a key and essential part of making Penn the haven of multiculturalism that it is.”

Juan Carlos Melendez-Torres, Princeton, New Jersey
Huntsman Program in International Studies & Business
The Wharton School | College of Arts & Sciences
Class of 2013

“When I came to Penn, I could barely speak intermediate high school Spanish, but UPenn gave me the best opportunities to become fluent in Spanish as a second language.  The summer after freshman year, I studied via a UPenn abroad program in Alicante, Spain (Universidad de Alicante).  Doing my Spanish homework on the Mediterranean beach in Spain was just the beginning of a life changing adventure.  After continuing to take Spanish and International Relations courses at UPenn, I was ready to study for a full Spring semester in Oaxaca, Mexico and stay with a host family. I fell in love with Oaxaca so much, I stayed the summer working as a Mariachi (playing the violin).  Not only did I learn to sing, dance (salsa, merengue, and bachata), and play with a Mariachi, thanks to UPenn and their awesome programs, I graduated fluent in Spanish.  My experiences at UPenn have greatly shaped my life, and the opportunity to be fluent in Spanish has been a huge asset for me in the work place. I miss Casa Latina, as it’s a great place to meet people and share Latino culture experiences.” 

Eileen Mu�oz, Denver, Colorado 
College of Arts and Science | International Relations Major and Spanish Minor
Class of 2001

“At first Penn was just the place that educated me, but after discovering the amazing people and finding my place on campus Penn has become much more than my university, it feels like my home.”

Oscar A. Cullen, Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico
The Wharton School
Class of 2014

“I love Penn because it has allowed me to grow in many ways and has provided me with numerous experiences with people from all walks of life. Penn has also given me the opportunity to explore the various sites that Philadelphia has to offer!

Yo amo a Penn por que yo he aprendido sobre una cantidad de culturas diferentes! Tambien yo he crecido muchisimo y pienso que mi caracter se ha madurado, gracias a esta universidad.”

Brenda Achille, Queens, New York
The School of Nursing
Class of 2012

“I love that Penn is situated in the heart of one of the nation’s greatest cities, Philadelphia.  The campus extends far beyond University City and into the rich, historical neighborhoods of the city.  I love that so much of the city is a train or bus ride away and that’s where the learning really comes to life.  The history and significance of the University is deeply tied with the city of Philadelphia.  Walking through Penn’s campus, one does not go too far before encountering remnants and reminders of an important historical past.”

Charlene Cruz-Cerdas, Philadelphia, PA
Department of Sociology

“Penn can be whatever you want it to be.  It can be big or small, and you can meet all kinds of people from all kinds of places.  You can take music lessons in your dorm, start a club, research your passions, learn an obscure language, create your own major, get funding for service work abroad, anything!  Through P
enn’s limitless resources, you have the freedom to seize amazing opportunities. And La Casa will always support you, like family.”

Carolina Miranda, Philadephia, PA.
The School of Arts and Sciences | Biology major and a Chemistry minor
Currently working as a Clinical Research Assistant
Class of 2010

“Penn is great because everyone here is really passionate about something and you can feel that energy all over campus. There is no typical Penn student. People come from everywhere with diverse backgrounds , social economic statuses and life experiences. There is a sense of community at Penn as long as you keep an open mind and are willing to go out there and meet new people. As a senior looking back on my choices, there are a lot of things in my life that I would’ve done differently but I have to say that the best decision I made was to come here. Penn has helped me grow as a person and I definitely made a change for the better.”

Christina Mancheno, Metuchen, New Jersey
The College of Arts and Sciences
Class of 2012

“I love Penn because it is a urban university with a real and defined campus. When applying to graduate school, one of the factors that tipped my balance to Penn was the high percentage of graduate and professional students in comparison to undergraduates.”

Francisco Buitrago, Philadelphia, PA.
Graduate Student, Penn School of Engineering 

“I love Penn because of the amount of personal growth I have experienced both in and out of the confines of the classroom. I see, hear, and interpret things on a much more profound level now; and strongly believe this was only possible through my education at Penn. I am and always will be proud to be a Quaker. Go Quakers!”

Ollin Venegas, Las Cruces, NM
The School of Arts and Sciences
Class of 2012 

“My college experience at Penn greatly influenced who I am as a person and as a professional. At Penn, I was able to interact with some of the brightest minds in the world, top notch faculty, state of the art facilities, a vibrant international student body, and an education that truly prepares you for success in the real world.”

Raimundo Guerra, New York, NY
The Wharton School
Currently an attorney
Class of 2010

“After attending UPenn for the last two years it’s not difficult to see why the world holds the university and its students with such high regards.  The campus is picturesque, the university’s public safety is amazing, and the instructors are world class.  The Penn student body is also distinguished. Everyone you meet is intelligent, self motivated, and very down-to-earth. It’s very uplifting and fulfilling to be part of such a respected and recognized university. I can honestly say that UPenn has brought out the best in me these last two years and will surely continue to do the same for the rest of my Penn career.”

Daniel Chabolla, Los Angeles, CA
Class of 2013