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Celebrating Hispanic Culture and Heritage

Hispanic Culture and Heritage
Hispanic Heritage month

Since 1968, the U.S. has celebrated the histories, cultures, and contributions of Hispanic and Latino American citizens. This includes citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.

Hispanic Heritage Month began as a commemorative week. California Congressman George E. Brown introduced Hispanic Heritage Week as a result of a growing push to recognize the contributions of the Hispanic and Latino community. Congress authorized the law on September 17th, 1968. President Lyndon B. Johnson issued a proclamation that same day:

“Several of our States and many of our cities proudly bear Hispanic names and continue Hispanic traditions that enrich our national life. The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico has given an example to the world by lifting the per capita income of its inhabitants through “Operation Bootstrap” from $256 to $1,047 in 10 years.

The people of Hispanic descent are the heirs of missionaries, captains, soldiers, and farmers who were motivated by a young spirit of adventure, and a desire to settle freely in a free land. This heritage is ours.”

September 15th was chosen as the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Week with the intention of recognizing the independence of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, who declared independence from Spain on September 15th, 1821.

Hispanic Heritage Month as we know it today was signed into law on August 17th, 1988. The idea for extending the commemoration was first brought to the table by U.S. Representative Esteban E. Torres of California, in 1987. Torres wanted more time to “properly observe and coordinate events and activities to celebrate Hispanic culture and achievement”. The bill itself was proposed by Illinois Senator Paul Simon in 1988, and signed into law by President Ronald Reagan. On September 14th, 1989, President George W. Bush was the first president to declare September 15th to October 15th as Hispanic Heritage Month. His declaration stated the following:

“The rich ethnic heritage of Hispanic Americans gives us cause to celebrate because it is a proud and colorful portion of our Nation’s heritage. Hispanic Americans have reaffirmed our belief in the principles of liberty and democratic government, and they have helped to share that vision with our neighbors in Central and South America and the Caribbean. This month, as we recognize the many achievements of Hispanic Americans, we also recall the universal appeal of the American ideal of freedom and opportunity for all.”

The contributions of the Hispanic and Latino community in the United States are interwoven into the heritage of our country. Here at the Atlanta MBDA Business Center, we are dedicated to celebrating and supporting Hispanic and Latino owned businesses. Hispanic-owned companies represent 14% of total U.S. businesses. From 2012-2018, Hispanic businesses grew at double the rate of other U.S. businesses – 40.2% growth compared to 18.8% growth. Latino small business owners are the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in the United States, growing 34% over the last ten years. The Georgia MBDA Business Center has the resources and experience to support Hispanic and Latino business owners in this era of growth and success.

Georgia MBDA Students – Where are they Now: Sam Naab

Georgia MBDA Students – Where are they Now

Earlier this year, we produced a series of articles focusing on how your group can employ student workers by utilizing the resources provided by the Georgia Tech Career Center. If you were not able to read those articles, make sure to check them out on our blog. To show you that we practice what we preach, this week, we will be highlighting some of the students that have worked with our centers over the past few years and where they are today.

Sam Naab

Sam recently graduated from Georgia Tech in May of 2021 with a B.S. in Literature, Media, and Communication. Working as a student assistant for the Atlanta MBDA Centers, Sam’s role focused primarily on content production – interviewing clients and writing the client spotlight series, piloting and authoring the GT Resource Series on the GT Career Center and GT Manufacturing Institute, and writing articles recapping the 5th Annual Advanced Manufacturing Summit. Sam also performed other roles with the group conducting research projects to support the NextTech Pitch Competition and SEO optimization for our websites.

Like our other student workers, Sam was very involved on campus. Sam was a general member for a number of organizations including the Georgia Tech Tour Guides, Wreck Camp (the extended first-year orientation program), For the Kids (the largest philanthropic group on campus), and the GT Catholic Student Group. Sam also served as Vice President of the Honor Advisory Council and the both the Vice President of Public Relations and Vice President of Development for his fraternity, Kappa Sigma. Sam was very involved with the pre-teaching program at Georgia Tech, and in his senior year, Sam sat as a representative for pre-teaching students on the GT Office of Undergraduate Education’s Student Advisory Board. In his time at Tech, Sam worked as a student assistant for the Office of Undergraduate Admission and as an Curriculum Alignment Intern for the GT School of Biological Sciences before working for the Atlanta MBDA Centers.

Below is what Sam had to say about working with the Centers:

How would you describe the atmosphere within the Atlanta MBDA Centers?

I had a unique (and completely virtual) experience with the Atlanta MBDA Centers, but in just a short six months, I’ve felt myself grow so much as a professional. It’s so inspiring and empowering to be surrounded by an entrepreneurial spirit. Energy that high just begins to permeate into your thinking and actions. The Centers are a busy place with a fast pace, but it was easy and fun to sprint with them during my last two semesters of undergrad. I learned a lot, and I was given so much responsibility that I honestly did not feel like a student assistant but rather a full-time staff member. I am very appreciative for my time with the Centers.

Are there any projects from your time as a student assistant that you’re particularly proud of?

Within a manner of weeks, I was basically the primary content developer for the Atlanta MBDA Centers. If someone needed an article written, they would come to me, and I would produce it. I was extremely proud that this responsibility was just given to me. I also pitched an idea on writing content about building internship programs, and I was basically told to run with it. This project became an entire Georgia Tech Resource Series for our newsletter, and I include many of these articles in my personal portfolio. As a writer, it was amazing to be able to spearhead my own projects as well as seeing my content out there and helping our clients.

How did working for the Atlanta MBDA Centers contribute to your undergraduate career at Georgia Tech and your professional career after graduating?

On May 31, 2021, I will begin pursuing an M.Ed. in Middle School English Language Arts at the University of Notre Dame on the ACE Teaching Fellowship. By the time this article is released, I will have only been in graduate school for a few weeks, but there are definitely tangible ways that the Centers have influenced me. I spoke earlier about the entrepreneurial spirit within the Centers, and it was the drive of and ambition within the Centers that inspired me to open my own freelancing service. While in grad school, I will continue managing their web content and social media for some of the clients I’ve acquired on my own.

I couldn’t be more appreciative of my work with the Centers. As someone fresh out of undergraduate, I’ve developed a strong, virtual rolodex of business professionals and contacts which will be sure to carry with me going forward. I loved the opportunity to tap into the Atlanta business development scene, and I hope to capitalize on my experience with the Centers after graduating from my graduate program in 2023.

Georgia MBDA Students – Where are they Now: Songee Baker

Earlier this year, we produced a series of articles focusing on how your group can employ student workers by utilizing the resources provided by the Georgia Tech Career Center. If you were not able to read those articles, make sure to check them out on our blog. To show you that we practice what we preach, this week, we will be highlighting some of the students that have worked with our centers over the past few years and where they are today.

Songee Baker

            Songee graduated from Georgia Tech in 2015 with a B.S. in Business Administration with a concentration in IT Management. Songee first began working with the Atlanta MBDA Business Center her sophomore year and continued with us through her graduation in 2015. As a student intern, Songee’s work focused on database and IT client management that the Center would eventually implement. This work would eventually follow Songee into a career of database marketing and management. After five years of working, Songee has recently returned to the classroom and is pursuing a full-time MBA from the University of Notre Dame set to graduate in 2022. Songee will be working as an MBA intern with Abbott Nutrition over summer 2021.

In her time at Georgia Tech, Songee was the featured baton twirler, known as the Golden Girl, on the Georgia Tech Dance Team and would perform at halftime during Georgia Tech Football Games. Songee was also a writer for the Georgia Tech student newspaper, The Technique, and also held a number of positions within the Alpha Phi sorority.

Below is what Songee had to say about working with the Centers:

How would you describe the atmosphere within the Georgia MBDA Business Center?

The atmosphere at the Center was wonderful. I’d come into the office every day and chat with Jocelyn at the front desk. It was a really great and a supportive atmosphere. They took us to the Back to Business Conference every year that the mayor would host at the Atlanta State Capitol. That was an awesome experience to have as a student – to be there and speak with prospective clients about what the Center did, it was an experience that you couldn’t get anywhere else. The group trusted us with so much that was super fundamental to my career afterwards… I even had the opportunity to to be a part of the interview process and ask questions to my future boss.

Are there any projects from your time as a student assistant that you’re particularly proud of?

The project I worked on was setting up a more robust, searchable client database  – one of my favorite projects. I was assigned to check the physical client contracts. I don’t remember exactly how it came about, but it was figuring out which of our clients would be eligible for certain government offerings and projects based on company and industry code. I remember saying that we didn’t have a robust digital way to track these codes. I asked if we had a system that I could use to upload this information and make it searchable. Which was an opportunity for improvement and through this project I had my first experience with database management, seeing how to set up a database effectively.

How did working for the Atlanta MBDA Business Center contribute to your undergraduate career at Georgia Tech and your professional career after graduating?

After graduation, I went into database marketing, and I’ve worked at Disney Studios, Viking Cruises, as well as Guitar Center. I remember in my first set of interviews I was able to talk about the work that I did at the Center. My work with the Center really helped me bridge the gap between what I was learning in school and the real world to see how concepts from my database management class and my sequel class applied to real life. All this work was also in a way that wasn’t super high pressure, and Donna and the team were super supportive. Of the work that I did there, the database project was a huge thing that contributed to the work that I did both at the Business Center and my career afterwards.

I also keep in touch with Donna, and I have used her as a professional reference. It was also just the connections to the genuine, professional, and authentic people at the Center that has played a strong role in my professional career and my undergraduate career. Like I said earlier, the autonomy that we were given as student interns to do real work was amazing. I remember sitting in my interviews for full-time jobs and being able to talk about real, tangible work experience which is what people wanted.