In 2021 around 2.5 million Latinos earned advanced degrees, more than double the 2000 total. According to the Pew Research Center, Hispanic Americans are the fastest-growing ethnic group to attain advanced degrees in the United States.
Charlene Collazo Goldfield, a first-generation American and college graduate, has earned a master’s degree in higher education and a master’s of laws in national security and cyber security. She is also a lawyer for the Department of Homeland Security in Washington, D.C.
As the daughter of a political prisoner in Cuba, she gives advice to Latinos who sometimes struggle with building the confidence to own up to their mistakes throughout their education.
“I feel like minorities, especially Latinos, feel as if we’re trained to have to be better, to be double your peers that are either white or come from other backgrounds,” said Goldfield. “I think that if you don’t learn from your mistakes, then you don’t get better.”
According to the 2021 American Community Survey from the U.S. Census Burerau, students eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program have played a role in the statistic. Ten percent of Latino recipients from the 2012 Obama administration program have advanced degrees.
“[That number] should be a lot higher,” said Diego Dulanto-Falcon, DACA recipient from Peru. “From my perspective, I see a lot of students in my community who usually go for a business degree, law, or medical school because it’s the easiest route in terms of how to make money or … to get citizenship.”