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UTA biology junior finds her niche in Latin sorority

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Laura Manjarrez stretched before practicing her dance routine for the Multicultural Greek Council Showcase on Monday.

Alongside her were fellow Lambda Theta Alpha  members, all in maroon and gray, representing the Latin organization.

Manjarrez, biology junior and Lambda Theta Alpha fundraiser chairperson, is the first in her family to attend college so far from her hometown of San Antonio. She is also the first to get involved in fraternity and sorority life.

“Being the first-generation college student is definitely scary for my parents because they’re always worried about me, especially going so far,” Manjarrez said.

She is the youngest of four siblings and said there’s tears every school year when her parents drop her off at UTA.

Manjarrez said she wanted to be independent and go to a school away from home. It was scary at first, but she’s glad she took the opportunity. It’s proven to her parents that she’s an adult, she said.

Before joining the multicultural organization, Manjarrez said she was homesick, shy and didn’t want to come out of her shell. It was a big shock to her family when she joined the organization because she wasn’t an outgoing person at the time.

“I was very much a hermit crab,” she said. “When I found Lambda Theta Alpha it really felt like they wanted to know more about me,” she said.

The organization made her feel welcome and like family, something she lacked since leaving San Antonio, she said.

Alumna Estefania Torres also performed at the showcase. She said as an alumna, it’s a great feeling seeing Manjarrez grow from being shy to an outgoing person. She has taken fundraiser chair, where she arranges the chapter’s charity events, to the next level, Torres said.

“She’s very informative, she wants to get things done and it’s a good thing for the sorority. Like, we need somebody like her,” she said.

Manjarrez performed in the showcase with her organization, where they saluted to demonstrate the organization’s traditions, she said.

Saluting is when the performers get into an military-style line to praise their national organization’s story and share about the organization’s founding mothers. It’s a salute to the past and current accomplishments made as an organization, according to the Georgia Tech Lambda Theta Alpha  chapter.

Saluting symbolizes unity and respect to Lambda Theta Alpha members and the national organization.

“We do a salute just so other people can see our traditions and what we can bring to the table, and what we find very special in our hearts,” Manjarrez said.

Every member of the chapter works hard. The members of the organization bond, laugh and get to walk away with fun experiences, she said. Through the sorority, it’s helped her learn more about herself. It’s been an eye-opener.

“The MGC showcase really is a time to just bring out a whole new aspect of greek life,” she said.

Students got the opportunity to see different organizations and its traditions at the showcase.

Nancy Ortiz, nursing junior and vice president of Lambda Theta Alpha, said Manjarrez is a team member who demonstrates leadership, taking part in activities and serving in any way she can.

“She’s a great leader. She shows that leadership role, the one that always wants to get things done, organize and at the same time she’s fun,” Ortiz said.


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