National Hispanic Heritage Month, September 15 to October 15, is a time to celebrate the rich history, traditions and cultural diversity of the Hispanic and Latino/a community. As this recognition month comes to a close, USDA’s Research, Education, and Economics (REE) mission area is spotlighting the stories of several brilliant Hispanic colleagues who contribute so much to the Department each and every day.
Meet Gloria Anderson. Gloria is a Survey Statistician at USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) where her role is responsible for planning, conducting and analyzing agricultural surveys. Gloria has been with the Department since 2008 and was motivated to grow her career at USDA after seeing the family-oriented culture and after working directly for a female senior executive who served as her role model. Gloria was born and raised in Venezuela – something she takes deep pride in. To her, National Hispanic Heritage Month is a great reminder of the incredible contributions the Hispanic community has made to the nation.
Gloria: “I am proud to showcase not just Venezuelan culture, tradition and values in the workplace, but also to represent the entire Hispanic community. I am immensely proud of being Hispanic, and I look forward to celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month together with my NASS family.”
Favorite Way to Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month: “Attending local cultural events around the metropolitan area.”
National Hispanic Heritage Month Hero: “José M. Hernández (2004 NASA Astronaut).”
Meet Carlos Ortiz. Carlos is a National Program Leader at USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). In this role, Carlos is building the next generation of diverse food and agriculture professionals. Originally on the pre-med track, Carlos’ life was completely changed after an internship in college where he was exposed to agriculture for the first time. This internship was funded by the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, which is now USDA NIFA. The experience sparked Carlos’ passion for agriculture science and showed him the endless opportunities that lie within the industry. Now, Carlos works with universities and colleges across the country to ensure students of all backgrounds have opportunities to grow careers in agriculture. Carlos is Mexican and his heritage is very important to him. He feels National Hispanic Heritage Month is a chance to showcase the diversity that lives within the Hispanic community — the many foods, cultures, languages and traditions.
“From the food, the long history of our traditions, the importance of family and having each other’s back, all those things are something I think about constantly. My heritage helps and informs my point of view, it reminds me of my roots and the challenges ahead as well as opportunities there are to harness.”
Favorite Way to Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month: “I eat all the things! My favorite dish in green pozole, it’s a soup and it’s delicious.”
National Hispanic Heritage Month Hero: “My mother, she worked hard to provide me the education and opportunities that have been the building blocks of my career.”
Meet Valerie Negron. Valerie is a Public Affairs Specialist at USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) where she has the exciting job of distilling ERS’ comprehensive research into 280 characters. Valerie runs ERS’ social media accounts and ensures their findings reach a broad audience. Valerie first discovered her passion for agriculture while attending the University of Puerto Rico (Mayaguez). Valerie is Puerto Rican and was raised on the U.S. mainland. She returned to Puerto Rico for college to reconnect with her roots, immerse herself in the rich culture of the island, and gain a profound understanding of the place that shaped her identity. There, she learned firsthand that being Puerto Rican is not just about the traditions and the warmth of its people; it's also about the deep-rooted connection to agriculture. Through the Pathways Internship Program, she interned with USDA and combined here passion for public engagement with her connection to ag. For Valerie, National Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to honor and celebrate the rich and diverse contributions of Hispanic and Latino communities to American culture and society.
“My heritage is not just a part of who I am; it's a source of deep pride and a guiding force that has significantly shaped my career. It informs my passion for agriculture, my commitment to community engagement, and my dedication to preserving and celebrating our culture.”
Favorite Way to Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month: “I take advantage of all the opportunities to learn more about the history and traditions of other Latin American countries. Whether this means watching a documentary or supporting local artists or events, I take this month as an opportunity to continue learning and celebrate our heritage and achievements.”
National Hispanic Heritage Month Hero: “My mom, she embodies the values, resilience and cultural richness that defines our heritage. Her unwavering support, dedication to our family, and commitment to preserving our traditions inspire me daily.”