Staff Highlight: Heidi Mendez A Queen on a Mission
Heidi Mendez, a recent first generation graduate of Hamilton College, has launched her career at Sociedad Latina. Heidi coordinates the STEAM Team middle school program at the Mario Umana Academy in East Boston, facilitating STEAM activities for Latino and English Learner youth.
Heidi’s path to Sociedad Latina started many years ago, as the daughter of a bold, hard working woman who came to the United States from El Salvador at the age of seventeen. Ms. Mendez always willed Heidi to give back and help people who have not had the same experiences and opportunities as Heidi. In high school, Heidi competed in a Boston-based beauty pageant for five years in order to raise enough money to build a high school in El Salvador. The philanthropic pageant seeks to fund schools to rural areas in Latin America. Heidi also won the beauty pagent one year, and was therefore eligible to fly to El Salvador to see the school built in part by her pageant winnings and meet the students whose lives were touched. The school is located in rural El Salvador not far from where Heidi’s father was born, a fact that impacted her deeply and ignited her devotion to give back.
In her Senior year of high school, Heidi was awarded a rigorous and prestigious Posse Foundation award for a full, 4-year scholarship to Hamilton College in New York. Heidi received a Posse mentor and, importantly, had an immediate community with whom she could discuss the struggles of transitioning to college as a student of color in a predominantly white university.
While at Hamilton College, she focused on Education Policy and Government Affairs. She is excited by education policy and aspires to learn more about the topic as it relates to Latino and youth of color in Boston. With unlimited resources, Heidi would create a non-profit that seeks to solve social justice issues for students, such as immigration issues, mental health, etc.
Heidi, a watercolor artist, a former beauty queen and current lover of fashion, ultimately strives to use her new position at Sociedad Latina to give back to communities of English Learners by creating engaging opportunities to become excited around STEAM programming.
Welcome, Heidi. We’re glad to have you!