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Dustdevil Diversity Spotlight: Diana Valdez Posted: 10/15/20

Dustdevil Diversity Spotlight: Diana Valdez

 

Diana Valdez
Diana Carolina Valdez  

This is part of a series highlighting diversity and inclusion at TAMIU. On the occasion of Hispanic Heritage Month, this interview features Diana Carolina Valdez, TAMIU associate director, Office of International Engagement.

 

Mentoring Students to Acquire a Global Perspective

 

Tell us about yourself, where are you from and what you do here at TAMIU?

I was born in Brownsville, Texas and raised in Matamoros and Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas. I went to a private school in Nuevo Laredo until I started college. I earned my associate degree in Business Administration at Laredo College and continued my education at TAMIU, where I earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing.  During the summer of my  last year in college, I participated in an International Business study abroad program in France. Through this experience, I was able to meet local and foreign students from other nationalities as well to learn another language and develop new friendships. After my graduation in 2006, I took some time off to travel and explore the world.

In 2007, I started working in retail and soon, became a general manager. After five years in retail, I decided to change my professional path to higher education and that’s when I started working at TAMIU. While working at TAMIU, I earned my MBA in Management in 2015.

Diana Valdez Wedding

TAMIU has and will always be part of my life. In summer of 2012, I married my college sweetheart and we have been married for eight years. We have two beautiful boys, and we are very blessed to be their parents and their example for life.

Diana Valdez Graduation

When did you join TAMIU?

I joined TAMIU in November 2011 as an enrollment specialist. In 2014, I became the international student advisor for the Office of International Engagement until 2016. I then decided to take a three-year gap to nourish my family and be a

full- time mom. I returned to work at TAMIU last year and since my first day, it feels like home. The warm welcome and the dedication of my colleagues inspire me to continue working at TAMIU.

Tell about your experience living Laredo.

Laredo’s culture is definitely unique. Since we are a border city, there is a mixture of languages among Laredo residents. Laredo has become the home for many of our international students and faculty members. They can experience the different flavors and traditions that makes Laredo special.

Many Laredoans’ kindness and educational support help local and first-generation University students to succeed and have a better future.

Tell us how you became interested in working in the Office of International Engagement.

My interest in working at the Office of International Engagement started since the beginning of my study abroad journey. My entire experience was amazing since the beginning until the end. One of my professional goals is to keep motivating TAMIU students to participate in our study abroad programs and explore what’s beyond Texas and for international students to learn about Laredo’s culture and our educational system through TAMIU. This is why I love my job.

How do you feel your contributions impact TAMIU, the community and world around you?

My contribution through the Offices of Recruitment and International Engagement has helped local and international students to obtain a better education and a global perspective of life.

Can you share what some of your hobbies are?

I enjoy baking either desserts or meals with my kids, even if that involves making a mess. On weekends, we usually bake easy and simple kid-friendly recipes.

Diana Valdez with her children

Who has been your greatest inspiration and why?

My greatest inspiration are my parents. They have always helped me and my two siblings to accomplish our educational or personal goals, and to be a better version of ourselves. I try to apply my parents’ values, ethics, and guidance every day with my own family and at my workplace. I’m so grateful for their love and advice for us and their grandchildren who look up to them.

Please share your proudest accomplishment to date.

My proudest accomplishment has to be when I became a mother of my boys. I love being their mom. I enjoy taking care of them, teaching them new things every day and spending time with them. Definitely, having a family has been my greatest blessing.

Diana Valdez Family

Tell us what you’re doing today academically, career of life-wise and what your future plans are.

My current career plans are to continue learning from my mentors. Juan Gilberto García, TAMIU associate vice president and registrar, has been my mentor since the beginning of my career at TAMIU; as well as TAMIU registrar Triana González Valdez. They have become a role model to not only me, but also to other administrators and experts on this field.

I plan to continue serving as the associate director of International Engagement, and would like to become a mentor for future generations. My future plans are to continue participating in international educational trainings and certifications to improve and prepare myself for the future.  

What are some of the aspects of your culture or tradition that you celebrate or appreciate the most and how meaningful are they to you?

My family and I celebrate most of the Mexican traditions, but we also integrate American traditions as well.

My favorite tradition has always been Christmas, where I remember helping my mom to decorate the Christmas tree. My sister, my brother, and I are in charge of the ornaments, while my dad and mom set up the lights on the Christmas tree. Now, I’m able to share this tradition with my family.

Diana Valdez Wedding

In your opinion, what are some of the notable contributions by people in the culture or traditions that you represent?

There are many Mexican-American contributions that have impacted our country. Some of those contributions come from food, film and media, sports, and the economy. For instance, Mexican food has conquered America with its rich flavor. Mexican food has earned recognition among other cultures, and has contributed tremendously by creating employment, and by adding extra flavor to our country.

Film and media have showcased México’s lifestyle and culture. They have created social awareness among other cultures. Also, there has been contribution in sports such as boxing, mixed martial arts, soccer, and baseball. Sport celebrities have inspired future generations to chase the American dream.

In the economy, México plays an important role as one of the primary sources of goods to contribute to the United States.

How can people in the culture or traditions that you represent continue to increase their visibility and impact here and in the world?

The future generations are a key to keeping contributions alive and creating new pathways in economic, social and political aspects.

Is diversity important at university campuses, in the workplace and overall? Why?

Diversity plays an important role overall in society. In my opinion, we need to have all kinds of people in our society: people with varied ideas, backgrounds, languages, race, gender, cultural and social roles. By having diversity and inclusion on campuses, as well as in our workplace,  we allow the exploration of different ideas, paths, and change or rewrite society’s objectives for better outcomes.

 

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