Catalina Salas, Albuquerque, N.M.

Catalina Salas
Catalina Salas

My Roots/About Me
I was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I am proudly born to two Mexican parents, therefore I declare myself as Mexican-American. I am the first in the family to attend college. I am here to better myself but also to make my “mami” and “papi” proud of me! Los amoand they are my motivation to keep going forward.

Areas of Study
Biochemistry/Molecular Biology and Spanish

Cornell Activities
Organization for Latino Awareness (OLA), Performing Arts & Activities Council (PAAC) and Bellydance Club

Long Term Goal
I would like to one day become a pediatrician.

Did you have any concerns about fitting in at Cornell?
I was extremely afraid to stick out like a sore thumb. I went to a high school where I blended in—it was 90 percent Hispanic. I was afraid to move from the South to the Midwest. Moving out from home was a big step, but even bigger to move 22 hours away. As the first in the family to be going to college, I did not have someone to tell me what to expect on my awaited journey in college.

What were some of your initial impressions of the campus community?
I had a little bit of what you call a culture shock. I was glad to find great friends here that had been here for longer and had adjusted to the Cornell life. I also learned that the Intercultural Life Office was something I can fully rely on for anything. PALS, a mentoring program under ICL, was a huge help for me. I found my little Cornell family through this program. Now that I am more adjusted to the Cornell life, I know that whether it’s a piece of advice about my academics or my personal life I can go to the many amazing people associated with ICL. 

How would you Cornell’s culture to other students of color?
The options are never limited at Cornell. There are student organizations for everyone, and if there is not one you are particularly interested in you can make it happen. It is always good to come to Cornell with an open mind. I feel like coming here was a great decision—I have become a little bit more knowledgeable about other cultures and I love it! ICL is also a great part of Cornell, and all the groups under their umbrella are amazing. They help you so will never feel lost at Cornell. You can definitely find your home away from home, and you will form your own little Cornell familia with all the amazing people you will meet.

Fun Fact
I love Harry Potter!