Photo of Liana Carroll

Hispanic Heritage Month: Liana Carroll

Photo of Liana Carroll

Hispanic Heritage Month takes place each year from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15. Throughout the month, The Daily will highlight members of the university community who are of Hispanic heritage to celebrate their accomplishments and shed light on their experiences at CWRU.

The idea of “familia” pervades every aspect of Liana Carroll’s life, whether someone is a member of her immediate family or a person she’s just met.

“When you are my friend or my colleague, you become an extension of my family,” said Carroll, who was born in Peru. “The importance of personal connections in my culture impacts the connections I make.”

Her role as associate director of undergraduate admission at Case Western Reserve is all about making connections—and ensuring future and incoming students find their family at the university. 

“I feel privileged learning about students’ stories,” she said, explaining how her work involves diversity programming and international recruitment. “There is something really special about making a connection with a student in high school, seeing them through the application process, and meeting them at some point walking through campus.”

In her time at the university, Carroll has recruited from as far away as seven different countries to as close to home as the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. 

“I believe students are the heartbeat of any institution, so connecting with students is one of the highlights of my work,” she explained. “I have a passion for diversity and truly believe it makes every person and place better.”

Around the world

Carroll knows firsthand how diversity can impact one’s life. After being born in Ilo, a remote part of southern Peru, she grew up in places around the world, from Papua New Guinea to Honduras to five different states across the United States. 

“Growing up in different environments not only allowed me to experience the beauty of other cultures but value my own,” said Carroll, whose mother is a Cuban refugee and whose father’s side is mostly Peruvian. “I share a lovely blend of cultures with great food, a lot of passion, and [a lot of] dancing.” 

Sometimes that dancing lasts late into the night, as is the case during Noche Buena—the night before Christmas. For this holiday, one of Carroll’s favorites to celebrate in her culture, there is a huge family feast followed by hours of dancing alongside her abuelos and tios (grandparents, aunts and uncles). 

“There is something special about sharing this intergenerational connection centered around love, family and just celebrating life together,” Carroll said. 

CWRU celebrations

As the Hispanic and Latin American communities at CWRU come together this month, Carroll hopes they’re able to feel or taste a little bit of home during Hispanic Heritage Month events on campus, which are organized by Alianza Latina/Latin Alliance (ALLA).

“We really work to engage all aspects of the campus community from students both undergraduate and graduate, alumni, and faculty and staff,” said Carroll, who’s a part of ALLA. “We would love more individuals to engage—and are very open to anyone new.”

Carroll also hopes individuals outside of Latin American/Hispanic identities take a moment to engage and learn a bit more about the issues impacting their communities—or simply see something from a new perspective. 

“Hispanic Heritage Month, like Hispanic/Latin American identity, is not one thing,” Carroll noted. “Hispanic/Latin American identity is complicated because you are dealing with different cultures, food, languages and experiences.”

Stay tuned to The Daily through Oct. 14 to learn about other Hispanic members of the university community.