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'I'm Puerto Rican proud': Emerging UofL leader shares her story

For Hispanic Heritage Month, the University of Louisville's Monica Negron shares her story and what she believes made her a success on and off the lacrosse field.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — One of the University of Louisville’s emerging leaders attributed hard work and her family’s solid foundation to her success on and off the field.

Monica Negron, director of Hispanic, LatinX, and Indigenous Initiatives at the University of Louisville, said her and the Cultural Center look to serve underrepresented students.

And so, any student that identifies as Black, multiracial, Hispanic, LatinX, or Indigenous are our target populations, but anyone that wants to learn more about our different cultures that wants to help support any type of resources, anything along those lines, are welcome into our space,” she said.

Negron said she wants to use this position to make an impact at UofL.

When talking about Hispanic Heritage Month, she said you don't just need to understand and celebrate during the one month.

"And you have this entire year...to understand this is who we are, but then knowing some of the struggles that we also have as well and making that known," she said.

Negron is Puerto Rican but she was born and raised in Maryland.

“I'm Puerto Rican proud. Boricua, it's kind of what we call ourselves,” she said. “I think, some different stigmas, is, I think a lot of people don't necessarily understand, either, like how the government structure of Puerto Rico and that we were a part of the United States, a territory somewhat of a colony.”

Negron played lacrosse for UofL and was captain of the winning team from the Big East Tournament in 2014.

She later played for Puerto Rico's National Team for the first time since college in 2019 and became captain. Negron said the first game was special for her.

“Ironically, my first game was my Abuela’s birthday. She had passed like a couple years ago. So, for me to be playing from Puerto Rico, on her birthday, was literally the coolest thing,” she said.

Abuela means grandmother.

Negron’s advice to others? Practice self-care, and strive to be your very best to inspire others.

►Contact WHAS11’s Sherlene Shanklin at sshanklin@whas11.com or follow her on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram. Photojournalist Jessica Farley and Edited by Madelyn Carey.

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