Leslie Castrejon BMC ’15 is the associate director for Haverford’s Chesick Launch, supporting the college’s first-generation and low-income students.
What brought you to Haverford, Leslie?
What brought me to Haverford is that I’ve always enjoyed being part of a close-knit community, especially one that is all about being welcoming and inclusive to all walks of life. The other piece is that I am a Bryn Mawr alum, so being part of the Bi-Co has always been something that I enjoyed. I’m happy to be back and to continue being part of the community.
Prior to joining Haverford, I was actually over at Bryn Mawr. So it’s been really nice to get to know the two colleges on a more intimate level.
What is your Latinx heritage? What does being Latinx mean to you in your daily life?
I am half Guatemalan and half Mexican. For me, it means being able to embrace speaking another language and engaging with different foods, music, and traditions that have been passed down. But it’s also about being able to connect with others who are part of the greater community and seeing how, even if we don’t know each other, there are things that still connect us.
In what ways do you express your heritage at Haverford?
Some ways that I like to express my heritage is by being able to connect with students and families who are Spanish-speaking. I’ve always been taught to connect with others through our language, speaking Spanish, as a way to build community, but also to support one another, especially if English is not a language that family members speak. Being able to connect and communicate, I think that’s very important. It shows others that there are folks here on campus that you can connect with or that your students can connect with to continue building their networks.
Can you tell us one thing about your heritage that is special to you, something that you can’t stop talking or thinking about?
I love Mexican food, and one of my favorite dishes is enchiladas de mole. So anytime I ever go to a new place, I always want to order that and see how that may differ from place to place because everyone cooks it a little bit differently. It always reminds me of home and makes me feel more settled and comfortable in whatever space I’m in.
Another thing is Spanish music. I love listening to different artists and sometimes playing some of my own. It just reminds me of home and a different time when I was younger and there were fewer things to worry about.