(L-R) Aida Munoz, 2018-19 Hispanic Reina; Veronica Burrola, 2019-20 Hispanic Reina; Isaiah Mejia, 2019-20 Hispanic Rey; Jonathan Renteria, 2018-19 Hispanic Rey.
(L-R) Aida Munoz, 2018-19 Hispanic Reina; Veronica Burrola, 2019-20 Hispanic Reina; Isaiah Mejia, 2019-20 Hispanic Rey; Jonathan Renteria, 2018-19 Hispanic Rey.

Veronica Burrola was recently crowned the 2019-20 Hispanic Reina at Eastern New Mexico University.

The ENMU Hispanic Rey y Reina Competition, hosted by the Office of Hispanic Affairs, takes place during Hispanic Heritage Month. Contestants present their Hispanic Heritage through talents, cultural knowledge or any avenue they choose. There is one male (Rey) and one female (Reina) student crowned. The Hispanic Rey y Reina hold their titles for an entire academic year (September to September) and receive a scholarship for their attributions to Multicultural Affairs and the University community.

Veronica discusses what being named Reina means to her:

Why did you decide to run for Hispanic Reina?

I decided to run for ENMU's Reina Hispana because I wanted to represent my culture in a way that I never have before. It's a wonderful opportunity to expand your connections and reach out to people you wouldn't otherwise. Hispanic culture is so rich and diverse, so an opportunity to share that is an opportunity that I could not let pass by. My main incentive was knowing that through this I would be able to share my culture, while expanding my knowledge about so many other cultures, too.

What is the process of becoming Hispanic Reina?

The process consisted of getting scored by three judges on an introduction of yourself, a presentation of an item or talent and public speaking ability by answering a question asked by them. Based on a rubric the judges received, they scored you on how well you did on all three of those items. Points were tallied and the winner was based on who tallied up the most points.

What does it mean to you to be named Hispanic Reina?

It is an honor to have the title of Hispanic Reina. It is yet another opportunity to expand my knowledge, reach out to people and do things I never imagined I would do. Being Reina means being able to represent Hispanic culture as something more than just myself. It puts me in a position in which when I share my story and my own culture, I am also speaking on behalf of the Office of Hispanic Affairs, the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Hispanic culture as a whole. It's about being a part of and representing something greater than yourself.

What are your responsibilities as Hispanic Reina?

We are asked to attend as many multicultural events as possible, attend the weekly Hispanic and Multicultural Affairs meetings, and volunteer two hours a week at the Office of Hispanic Affairs. Aside from, of course, representing our title and the office well at all times.

What part of being Hispanic Reina do you look forward to the most?

The part I look forward to the most is being able to reach out to people and serve as motivation to embrace their culture. I know what it is like to be underestimated because of your ethnicity and background, therefore, I want to motivate people to represent their culture proudly by working hard and breaking barriers.

What advice do you have for students who may be interested in running for Hispanic Reina?

If you are interested in running for Rey/Reina, do it! Do not hold back and step out of your comfort zone. Just the competition itself is such an amazing experience. You learn things about yourself that you did not even know because you step out of your comfort zone. Plus, you learn so much about so many other cultures and people.

Being brave enough to go up there and do something out of the ordinary is so special and will forever benefit you. The desire to want to represent your culture makes you extraordinary and will motivate others to do so, too.

What do you hope to pursue as a career? What do you hope to achieve in your career?

I hope to become a physical therapist. I hope to help as many people as I can and change many lives by improving their health and physical/cognitive abilities.

What are your other goals?

I hope to travel the world and explore different places one day. I also hope to run my own church youth group because the ones I have been involved in changed my life and I want other youth to benefit from them the way I did.

Why did you choose to attend ENMU?

The biology department and its success in getting students into their professional schools was my main interest, aside from the wonderful scholarship opportunities available.

What is your major, classification and expected graduation date?

My major is biology/pre-medicine and my minor is athletic training. I'm a junior. I expect to graduate in May of 2021.

What would you tell Future Greyhounds about ENMU?

I would recommend ENMU to future students because of the community that exists here. You meet so many wonderful people from different parts of the country, different parts of the world and it characterizes ENMU's diversity. I have had the ability to witness that it is this very diversity which creates the family of ENMU. Everyone is so kind and respectful of each other, and it makes ENMU a second family for anyone who is here.

Which honors have our received at ENMU?

Dean's List for fall 2017, spring 2018, fall 2018 and spring 2019 semesters. J. Williamson Freshmen Excellence Scholarship for the 2018-2019 school year. Dr. J. Kenney/ Dr. R. Taylor Scholarship in Biology for the 2019-2020 school year. Reid Allen Isler Memorial Medical Profession Scholarship for the 2019-2020 school year.

What are your extracurricular activities?

I have been in the ENMU Spanish Club for three years, and have been the secretary for two of them.  I am also in the ENMU Caduceus Health Society, serving as the secretary this school year. I am a part-time office assistant at the ENMU's President's Office from spring 2019-present. I worked at the Information Desk filling in open hours for the spring 2019 semester. I began volunteering this semester and will continue doing so at St. Helen's Catholic Church with their youth group.

Which high school did you attend and year did you graduate?

I attended Santa Fe High school in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I graduated in May 2017.

Tell us about your family.

My mom, Gloria Burrola, is a teacher's assistant at a day care/preschool and my dad, Francisco Burrola, is a bus driver. I have two younger brothers. Francisco, who is 17, and Diego, who is five.

What are your hobbies?

My preferred hobbies are working out and playing basketball.

(L-R) Edwina Gower, Veronica Burrola, Isaiah Mejia, Geni Flores and Dr. Jamie Laurenz.
reina and rey with judges