Latina student finds community at IUPUIDeise Soria | Forensics and Investigative Sciences, Undergraduate | Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology, Forensic & Investigative Sciences Program Deise Soria knows her parents have done their best to give her every opportunity in the United States.
Soria’s determination to honor her parents’ sacrifices pushed her to become her high school class valedictorian and a first generation college student majoring in chemistry and forensic science at IUPUI.
Soria’s family immigrated to Indiana from Mexico when she was a small child. Growing up in a tight-knit support system in Lake County, Soria wanted to to find a university that would give her the best opportunities without being too far from home.
“I wanted to be independent but still be close to my family,” Soria said. “IUPUI was in the perfect location, and their forensics program is the best in the state.”
In the forensic science program, Soria has excelled with the support of her advisors and teachers.
“As a Latina woman I feel empowered in the Forensic [and Investigative Sciences] program,” Soria said. “My advisor Amy Maidi always motivates me and my professor Gina Londino has helped me learn about career paths in forensics. They’ve always been there for me when I’ve experienced challenges.”
In addition to the strong academic support system in the School of Science, Soria wanted to find a community on campus to help her stay in touch with her Latina heritage. When she learned about Gamma Phi Omega, a Latina sorority at IUPUI she immediately began the initiation process.
“Gamma Phi Omega is my home away from home,” Soria said. “These ladies are my support – they understand what I’m going through and have helped me grow professionally and personally.”
Through Gamma Phi Omega, Soria became involved in the Indiana Latino Institute (ILI). Soria received a scholarship through ILI and now works for the organization part time as a consultant, assisting in events and other programming.
“Working with ILI removed part of my financial burden and has allowed me to focus more on my studies and stay involved on campus,” Soria said. “Not only has this scholarship helped me financially, it has also given me the motivation to continue my studies. I would like to thank ILI for not only the scholarship but for also encouraging me to strive for excellence.”
After graduation, Soria hopes to get a master’s in forensic science and eventually work for the FBI. She hopes her story will empower other Latina students at IUPUI and across the state so that they too can succeed.