Editor’s Note — This is part of a weekly student conversation series highlighted as part of Hispanic Heritage Month on the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Medium page. The series will feature students who are making impacts on campus and beyond.
Isela Tercero’s experiences growing up ignited her passion for education. Now, the agricultural education and applied science double major from Broken Bow, Nebraska, has leveraged opportunities to grow at Nebraska and is preparing to make her impact as an educator after graduation.
Talk about your experience as a first-generation college student. How did your experience push you to become an NSE leader this past summer?
Being a first-generation student can be challenging, but ultimately, the opportunities that I have experienced while at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln have been rewarding. I recall coming to college. I was enthusiastic to see what campus life would have in store for me, but I also felt scared coming into a new place away from everything I knew. When I experienced my own orientation day, I received a warm welcome to the university which helped ease my mind coming into college. Seeing all the resources put into place to help students succeed and thrive made me excited the call UNL home. I applied to be an orientation leader to help other students coming into college and create that same welcoming environment that I felt.
What originally drew you to your major? Is there anything in particular you’d like to accomplish as an ag educator?
My top values in life that motivate me are education and family. Growing up, my core philosophies were shaped by my parents’ stories and experiences. I cherished the opportunity to learn from them whenever I had the chance. My parents had to stop their schooling to help support their families. Seeing their persistence in life by sacrificing everything they knew to provide a better future for their family provided the foundation for my career motivations. Listening to their experiences gave me a different perspective on the importance of education.
Attending university did not seem accessible, but I was able to persist in overcoming challenges to attend college. I am aware of the privilege I possess because I have the chance to study what I love in such an enriching environment. This helped reveal my immense passion for teaching and helping others gain the best education possible. With agriculture education, I have a combination of helping others while learning something new every day because agriculture is an industry that is constantly evolving. I will get the unique opportunity to constantly further my own education while also working to educate upcoming young minds in the field of agriculture.
You’re involved in lots of things across campus from Greek life to professional organizations to those that will allow you to make an impact on the community. Why was getting involved important for you and how has it impacted your college experience?
Getting involved was important to me coming into college because I wanted to maximize every single opportunity that came my way. I have always been very involved in school organizations growing up, and I felt it heightened my sense of belonging. I knew coming into college that getting involved in various activities was something that I was looking forward to doing. UNL did not disappoint because not only have I strengthened my leadership skills, but I have made some of the greatest connections and friendships here. Being involved in various organizations across campus has given me the chance to enrich my college experience. I can definitely say that I have grown as a person through my experiences in my involvements.
Can you talk about attending the Ag Ed Roadshow and how it helped you look forward to your future post-graduation?
The Ag Ed Roadshow is an experience that allows agriculture education majors at the university to visit different agriculture education programs to learn about how different programs are run. This was an impactful experience because I had the chance to see what opportunities I would want to pursue when I become an educator myself. In addition, I had the chance to network with current agriculture educators in my field and connect with my current peers. It helped me look forward to my post-graduation because I got real-world exposure to what my career will look like and what I can accomplish as an educator. I am passionate about my future career, so I am grateful for the opportunity I got to see a day in the life.
Is there anything you hope to accomplish in your lifetime?
I hope to be an educator who makes a positive impact on students’ learning and development. Great educators create a foundation for lifelong learning. I think that a great educator does that by empowering students to think critically and become independent learners. A good teacher makes a world of difference in anybody’s life, so I hope to be that supportive individual for learners. Education is such an essential part of an individual’s life so to have the chance to help enrich that experience for others is an honor. My goal in life is to give others the gift of a good education because it is such a crucial part of everyday life.
What or who inspires you?
My parents and older sister inspire me every day. Both of my parents inspire me because they sacrificed everything that they knew to create a better life for my family. I got a tiny taste of that when I left for college, but I could not imagine it to the scale they experienced it. Despite encountering challenges in their lives, they are the most hard-working people I know. They work to give my family a life filled with love and support. I have always felt so inspired by their resilience and ability to bounce back from adversity.
My older sister inspires me because, from a young age, she had to take on many responsibilities to help support my family. She has taught me my biggest life lessons and has always taken care of me. She is somebody who I know I can always count on to be there for me. I truly admire her and am grateful to have somebody so lovely to look up to.
What is your advice to other students looking to make an impact on campus?
My best advice is to join the on-campus activities. Getting involved can help make new friendships and meet people you would not have otherwise.! There are many experiences and events on campus to nurture and grow during your time as a Husker. You can either get involved in something you are familiar with, something within your major, or even try something new. Some examples are student government or on-campus employment which can help assist you in engaging in the community around you.