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Proud to Be API: Spotlight #3

Posted on Thursday, April 22, 2021

* Name, Major, Campus Affiliations: My name is Patrize Aguilar and I am a Junior majoring in Neuroscience and minoring in Psychology. I am a member of Kappa Phi Lambda Sorority Inc., an Asian-interest but not Asian exclusive sorority on campus. I am also a member of Nevada Neuro Society and Nu Rho Psi.
* Accomplishments/Passions: Some of my accomplishments this semester that I am proud of are co-hosting the Breaking Barriers workshop, with Kappa Phi Lambda, focusing on combating white supremacy and deconstructing the pillars that reinforce this. In addition, I co-hosted and collaborated with The Center to hold a Vigil and Community Reflection Space for AAPI students and faculty after recent events. I am passionate about working for underserved communities, increasing accessibility to mental health resources, intersectional feminism, and eliminating barriers in public health. In my free-time, I like to engage in my more creative side with writing, painting, and reading!
* What does your identity mean to you? It is difficult to define what my identity means to me simply, but I feel that my identity is an amalgamation of my experiences and has been molded by my intersectionality being queer, an immigrant, and Filipino. Immigrating to the United States at a young age, I was wide-eyed and filled with the dreams of both myself and my immigrant parents. I have carried these dreams with me as I’ve grown and try to remember them when I have struggled with my identity. Moving to the U.S., I did not always feel fully accepted and I struggled to keep my roots and stay grounded in my culture while also being ‘Asian-American’. Being Asian-American and an immigrant, there can be a pressure to assimilate and I had a constant internal battle for many of my pre-teen years where I did not feel either “Asian enough” nor “American enough”. I found resolution in this internal battle when I embraced my intersectionality and came to the realization that my identity is not in separate pieces but is interwoven within myself. To tell a story from when I was young: In elementary school after I moved from the Philippines, I got pulled aside and scolded by my teacher for speaking in my language at school with other Filipino students and I felt that I had to hide this part of me if I wanted to succeed in being American. However today, I have grown and found that I do not have to hide this part of me in order to succeed and I can be both simultaneously. I’ve embraced all the aspects of my identity and learned that I do not have to throw away or hide my Asian identity in order to embrace my American one. My experiences as a young Asian-American immigrant, along with fighting the submissive and quiet stereotypes surrounding being Asian has pushed me to find my voice in activism and advocate for myself and the AAPI community as I hope that I am able to reach others and help them to embrace their intersectionality as well.
*What has your experience at Nevada been and how has it shaped your identity? Being at UNR, I have found a platform and community of like-minded individuals where I can advocate for myself and others while educating myself. Finding my own ‘home away from home’ in Kappa Phi Lambda truly helped me find my voice and gain the confidence to take initiative in these pertinent conversations.