Hispanic Heritage Month: Meet nutrition student Fabiana Irigoyen

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.

Photo of Fabiana Irigoyen

In Fabiana Irigoyen’s family and in her hometown of Quillacollo, Bolivia, food is a big part of the culture. When Irigoyen was deciding what to study in college, she chose to combine her passion for food with a topic that could help her community stay healthy: nutrition. 

A current student in the Integrated Graduate Studies Nutrition program, Irigoyen is studying at Case Western Reserve University as an international student through United World Colleges (UWC)—a global network of schools with the shared mission of “making education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future.”

“At UWC I discovered the world,” explained Irigoyen, who studied at UWC Red Cross Nordic prior to attending CWRU. “As part of being a UWC alumni, we have the opportunity to study in the U.S. and be a Davis Scholar at a partnered university, which CWRU is. I chose CWRU because of the nutrition program and the Nutrition Department.”

Arriving in Cleveland to begin her studies was Irigoyen’s first time visiting the U.S. In her first year, Irigoyen attended a few faculty and staff Alianza Latina/Latino Alliance meetings, after accidentally being added to the mailing list for the group. 

“Alianza Latina has been a fundamental part of my development as a Latinx member of the community at CWRU,” Irigoyen said. “Being part of those meetings showed me the resilience and courage of Latina women on campus, from Dr. Suzanne Rivera to Professor Damaris Punales-Alpizar.”

To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month this year, Irigoyen was a part of the Understanding the Hispanic Experience at CWRU panel on Sept. 10, where she talked about her experience at the university as an international Latinx student. She’ll also be attending Noche Latina on Sept. 17, a night of Latin dancing and music put on by the La Alianza student group.“I’m [also] celebrating by making myself aware of what it means to carry all that heritage with me, the good and the bad,” she explained. “For me it means remembering our heritage, what we carry with us from our past, and what we represent in our present.”

When asked what the university community should know about the Hispanic community, she said: “They should know that each Latinx member of the community carries a story that goes beyond our lifetime.”

In addition to her nutrition studies and time with Alizana Latina, Irigoyen is involved in a number of ways on campus. She’s the president of the Student Dietetics Association, a member of the International Student Advisory Council, and the captain of the Sustainability House. Irigoyen also works in the Office of Multicultural Affairs, Wade Commons, and Hodges Lab.