Eileen Dennise Jimenez Moral — A Voice for the Voiceless

Eileen Dennise Jimenez Moral finally saw faces similar to hers as she looked into the crowd at the 2016 Hispanic Scholarship Fund’s National Leadership Conference.

She realized that this is what her world could look like.  

“It changed my perspective on what education could do for Latinos,” said Jimenez Moral.

Jimenez Moral, 20, a sophomore at Boston University, works to bridge the divide between her Hispanic community and the professional world.

She currently serves on the Admission Student Diversity Board at Boston University and is a proud mentor for the Hispanic Scholarship Fund.

Jimenez Moral actively helps low-income and diverse students have more opportunities for higher education.

“These spaces [in higher education] weren’t meant for us,” said Jimenez Moral, “that’s why I place such an emphasis on trying to helping minorities.”

Jimenez Moral recalls her first encounter with the education system skewed against her in kindergarten when she, a fluent English speaker, was placed into an English Second Language class because of her last name. 

“I remember coming back home after my first day and saying, ‘Mami, I don’t know what they are saying,’ because I didn’t speak fluent Spanish! I was only six years old.” said Jimenez Moral.

Jimenez Moral, three-quarters Ecuadorian and one-quarter Chinese, used those memories to motivate herself to achieve more than what others thought was possible for her.

After testing into Top Class in elementary school, a New York state academically accelerated program for students who scored high on state exams, she then entered the exclusive Gifted and Talented program (G&T) in middle school which she describes as an advantage for her academic pursuits.

“Being part of the GT program was a big leap into the lifestyle of college preparedness for my future,” Jimenez Moral said.

That program enabled her to excel on the mandatory Specialized High School Admissions Test which led her to acceptances at distinguished high schools in New York. However after supplemental tests and an intensive admissions process, Jimenez Moral ended up choosing the elite Townsend Harris High School. 

“[This test] sets you up for college because where you go to high school will influence what happens in your future,” said Jimenez Moral.

That’s exactly what it did for Jimenez Moral.

Townsend Harris prepared her for her future here, at Boston University’s Questrom School of Business concentrating in Marketing.

However, she still recalls being in classrooms filled with individuals who didn’t look like her.

“Growing up, my teachers referred to the kids who looked like me as the ‘bad kids,’ so it was hard to find role models that looked like me in my classes,” said Jimenez Moral.

Outside of class, Jimenez Moral had ample role models, but the one she looks up to today: her mother, Elena Jimenez.

A doctor in Ecuador turned into a medical assistant in New York City because of how her diploma transferred to the States, Jimenez inspires Jimenez Moral through her courageous attitude in the workplace.

“For my mom to have that level of education, class, and still keep her dignity and composure, despite being challenged by superiors, showed me that those were worth more to her than a paycheck,” said Jimenez Moral.

Jimenez held those qualities, dignity, and composure, close to her heart, and that inspired Jimenez Moral to apply those values into her social and her professional life.

“If she can do it, I can do it. She raised me with those same values,” Jimenez Moral said.

Living by those values, Jimenez Moral describes how her financial situation played a role in her future outcome.

She describes how difficult it is for people of color, women or individuals in lower socioeconomic communities to get involved in the professional world, especially in fields like her field of business, because they don’t have access to it.

“‘The system,’ as society calls it, wasn’t meant for people who have less social mobility like my community and me,” said Jimenez Moral.

From having her English proficiency questioned in kindergarten to being an academically-driven scholar with multiple extracurriculars, Jimenez Moral’s quest for breaking boundaries has only just begun. “I want to be a part of the movement that rewrites the Latino narrative with class, empathy, humility, tolerance, and grace,” said Jimenez Moral.

 

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