Hispanic Heritage Month: Jaylene Fermin
Jaylene Fermin is a junior audiology and speech-language pathology major from Cheltenham who is of Dominican descent. In addition to serving as vice president of the Student Organization of Latinos, she is the active secretary of Curl Friends and is pursuing a minor in Spanish.
“The ‘orgullo’ (pride) I carry through my veins is something that’s been passed down to me from all the generations,” Fermin says. “My favorite thing about my culture is how important family is. Family is the core of everything, and they’re all we need.”
She adds, “I also love how we can turn any occasion into a party. No matter what, as long as there’s music and family, we’re absolutely having a great time.”
As the celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month continues, Fermin hopes to spread more awareness of how diverse the Dominican culture itself is.
“We don’t look one certain way,” Fermin says. “We come in many different shades and have different hair textures, and this is what makes us so beautiful. The culture is what makes us alike, not our physical features.”
A hidden gem to her culture, according to Fermin, is bachata music.
“Something that people might not know about Dominicans is how bachata music is a major part of our culture,” Fermin says. “It’s not just about the music itself, but about how it transformed from something that was banned back in the day to something that’s now internationally recognized and brings people together whether they’re at a concert or just their backyard.”
And here in Bloomsburg, she’s also found ways to celebrate her culture with fellow Dominicans as well as discover more diversity on campus.
“BU has enabled me to celebrate and promote my culture by supporting organizations like the Student Organization of Latinos,” Fermin says. “This is a safe space for me to not just share about my Hispanic/Latino experience but also learn about others.”
She adds, “BU is a great place to be you, because no matter what your background is you can find something that will make you feel at home. There are endless clubs and activities that have safe spaces for students to be themselves and make friends that share similar interests.”