Name: Nicthé Verdugo
Major: Ethnic Studies
Minor: Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies
When Nicthé first came to Oregon State University she found that she had fallen in love with the campus and felt at home. When she was a freshman she got involved in M.E.Ch.A. or the Movimiento Estudiantil Chican@ de Aztlán (The Chicano/Chicana Student Movement of Aztlán). After learning about all the activities that the M.E.Ch.A. students had accomplished on campus and the cultural events they were planning, she knew right away that she would become a MEChistA (a member of M.E.Ch.A.).
M.E.Ch.A. is a student organization that promotes the importance of a higher education, culture, and history. They devise workshops for high school students all over Oregon to help them reach academic success. Nicthé was part of a question and answer panel where students could ask what campus life incorporates and or what aspects of college they should prepare for. Nicthé notes that she really enjoys being able to motivate the students and inspire them to pursue higher education. She became Secretary of the organization sophomore year and Co-Chair her junior year.
Nicthé also got involved in the Multicultural Mentorship Program and Adelante Leadership Program her sophomore year. The Adelante Leadership Program is designed for students who wish to increase their leadership skills and involvement in OSU programs. It was through these programs that Nicthé really felt part of the campus life. In her junior year Nicthé also became one of the organizers for the United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS), which is a national student labor organization fighting for workers’ rights.
Nicthé had the opportunity to go to the Dominican Republic and the border of Haiti last December, for two weeks, to speak directly with workers who work or have worked in sweatshops. Their interviews consisted of one on one’s where they found out the working conditions they had to endure. Nicthé said she felt powerfully moved by the interviews and it inspired her to continue working on her passion.
Nicthé wants to lead and be an example for her two younger sisters. “Even throughout life you are still learning and growing. It’s very powerful to see how far I’ve come since freshman year”.
Now, Nicthé is a Program and Outreach Coordinator for the Women’s Center. Nicthé has created events for Black History Month, Native American Heritage Month, and many more. Nicthé enjoys building connections with the other centers and departments at OSU with a focus on empowerment and women’s rights.
Nicthé advises that for anyone going into a leadership position for the first time to, “Be open minded, flexible, exercise communication and be open to what ever comes your way. Sometimes things don’t come out the way you want them to, it’s good to learn how to think on your feet. Follow your passion and use it to empower others". For the future, Nicthé plans on going to grad school to focus on Ethnic Studies and community organizing. Nicthé eventually wants to create her own non-profit organization that advocates for workers’ rights and women’s rights.
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Way to go Nicthe! Oregon State is proud to have you in our community!