A Leadership Experience: HETS

Every future professional needs to develop certain skills. Which is why it is important for universities to offer their students the opportunity to do so. One of those skills is leadership. This skill can be defined as the act of leading a group or organization. Being a leader will help people advance in their professional lives. Thankfully, for me and many other students, our university offered us the opportunity to learn all about leadership. 

These leadership skills were being showcased by  the Hispanic Educational Technology Services, better known as HETS. The purpose of HETS is to increase educational opportunities and give access to higher education in a post-secondary level in the Hispanic community.  Their website, offers a variety of essential and bilingual information that will make your education easier; from help on professional development to import fellowship, internships and financial aid information. 

Thanks to our university’s partnership with HETS, I was able to experience a seminar that covers one of their goals: “Foster leadership development among Hispanic/Latino students from member institutions in order to widen their opportunities for success in Higher Education”. This event was called HETS Student Leadership Showcase and it was held on September 13th, 2019 at the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico, Metro Campus’  theater. There were universities from all over Puerto Rico and two high schools, also participating at the event. 

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    Most of the group from my university that participated at the showcase had one thing in common: student organizations. Many, if not all of us, are part of one. The purpose of bringing us to this event is to learn all about the importance of leadership and hear speakers tell their stories and advice. Once we got there, we were greeted with a happy smile and a delicious breakfast. After this, we were free to walk around campus for a bit before the showcase started. 

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Once we all got  in our respective seats inside the theater, all the fun and learning began. Before starting  the conferences, each university and their student’s ambassador was presented; this got each group to cheer for their university. After that, we had the Ana G. Mendez, Cupey Campus present an awesome project. 

 

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 After we had a chance to hear about the project, the conferences started. The first one was called “Connecting you to the real world: How to become a Global Leader”. This presentation was given by Juan Leonard Negrón, who told us all about his journey to become a professional and reach goals that he never imagined possible. His story was something many students can relate to. From not studying what his mom wanted him to, to taking a risk and ending up having a huge, important job. After this, we had a chance to hear a little bit about Financial Principles. This one was given by a representative of the BPPR, Cristina Hunter. There, we learned about our credit, financial priorities and how to keep our information secure.

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Before continuing with the last speaker, we took a break to have a fun trivia challenge. Each university had a student go on stage and answer some questions. The fun part was that they used the app Kahoot to play. That way, we could see who was winning and cheer them on. The questions were all about the HETS website and what they offer. On some occasions, our university was winning, but at the end we only managed to get third place. Then, it was time for the last speaker and, in my opinion, the best one. Don’t get me wrong, they were all great, but this one made his presentation very funny and interactive. 

The last presenter was  a person some students may have heard  about already. His name is Dr. Gabriel Parzy and his presentation was titled “En Buen Español”. The title means "In Good Spanish", so you can imagine what it was about. We had a chance to learn about the importance of language and communication; but this wasn’t all. Dr. Parzy brought a fun game where the public would choose which words were written and pronounced correctly from a group of words. The crowd was surprised by how many words we say and write incorrectly. To end his presentation, we had a chance to translate common phrases that we say in two languages. The purpose of this was for us to learn how to use our Spanish language the correct way in order to communicate and lead. 

At the  end of the event, HETS and their partners had a fun giveaway for the students. These included gift cards from different places, a stay at a hotel, flights and books. Not going to lie, this was probably the most fun  but also the worst part. That anxiety buildup from waiting what number they were going to read, was stressful. After the event was over, we had lunch and went back to our university. 

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Participating at this event was a wonderful experience. Every leader should be able to learn new things and hear from the  experiences of others so they can help them grow. We are so thankful that HETS and our university give us this experience every year. Their website is a blessing to us future professionals. I hope that from this experience, many people start using their resources efficiently.