Alumna’s Journey to U.S. Citizenship

November 15, 2023 Landry French

Alumna Ana Hernandez is the Project Coordinator for the marketing department at Hardin-Simmons University. She is a pivotal member of the department, overseeing the production of various design and print projects from start to finish. As the first of her family to attend college, she continues to push herself as she continues her education.

Ana is a 2020 graduate of HSU, currently pursuing her MBA and just last month, she became a U.S. citizen. 

Ana HernandezAna was eight years old when she moved to the United States. Her hometown, located in the middle of Mexico and made up of an indigenous population, lacked many of the commodities most cities in Mexico would have, like running water and electricity; most of the town was illiterate, and the primary language was its native language rather than Spanish. Coming to the U.S. as a child, Ana was suddenly taken aback by the amount of free time children her age had. Rather than spending the day fetching water from the river, building fires, or handwashing clothes, she saw her peers work/play on computers during school. 

When Ana first enrolled in public school after moving to Abilene, she did not speak Spanish fluently or English at all. Due to hard work and a dedicated 4th-grade teacher, the young immigrant became fluent in Spanish and then fluent in English by the end of the school year. Nineteen years later, she is still a proud inhabitant of Abilene and, after years of work, acquired her American citizenship in October of 2023. 

When I was little, my grandma told me to study hard because it was the way out to a better life. It was her words, and my humble beginnings, that pushed me to commit myself to my education.

During her first year at HSU, Ana was recruited by Harvey Berlanga to work in the Print Shop as a student worker. In 2017, due to her aptitude, Ana was offered a full-time position with the marketing department, which she successfully juggled while completing her undergraduate degree.

Ana is passionate about helping students who used to be in a position like hers—balancing school with work and life. She loves to work alongside students at HSU and offer mentorship. Ana has worked with 27 different student workers over her career so far and has enjoyed working with every single one of them. 

“HSU has played a big part in my life,” Ana reminisced. “It has given me the chance to pursue higher education, a job, the ability to build a life for myself and my husband, and for my husband also to have access to higher education.” She believes HSU is a place of opportunities, family, and community. When Ana first arrived in Abilene, she never thought her life would be what it is today. She is proud to be a part of the HSU community and glad her family also gets to join her.