Jessica Luna

MAYAS helps Jessica celebrate her heritage

Jessica Luna found her place at Iowa State by joining a club that helped her embrace her Mexican culture. In the fall of her junior year, Jessica’s brother enrolled at Iowa State and told her about the Mexican-American Young Achievers Society, also known as MAYAS. Jessica thought it sounded interesting and decided to check it out.

The club members welcomed Jessica and helped her feel more at home. She met a lot of new people and enjoyed the activities the club provided.

“It helped me learn about myself while staying true to my culture,” she said. “I didn’t leave my culture behind when I came to Iowa State, and it taught me how I can incorporate my heritage into my college life.”

Jessica decided at the end of that year she would run for an executive position. She became the web master for the club, putting her in charge of the social media accounts. Although this was her main title, Jessica also helped the rest of the executive board plan events. She said the group is small, and everyone works together to make each event happen.

Jessica is especially proud of her work with the Day of the Dead event the club hosted. People from various ethnicities attended, and it was a huge success. Guests decorated skull-shaped sugar cookies and enjoyed crafts the club members shared from their personal traditions. The event helped gain cultural awareness, which is the goal of the organization itself.

Jessica believes in this message. Even though her busy schedule prevented her from being an executive member her senior year, she is still involved in the club and encourages other students to come check it out.

“It’s a good way to meet new people and become culturally aware while building leadership skills,” she said. “But you don’t have to be Mexican to be involved, just appreciate our culture.”