DAYTON, Ohio — This Hispanic Heritage Month, educators are trying to get more Hispanic and Latino students to choose college.

What You Need To Know

  • Hispanic or Latino students make up about 3% of the student population at Wright State University in Dayton

  • Educators said that number has increased but they are stepping up efforts to support Hispanic students even more 

  • During Hispanic Heritage Month, there's an event planned once a week to celebrate the culture 

Estella Bucio is a third-year college student, studying to be a dentist.

“I really want to be that bridge in my community to help my fellow Latinos, because I know how it feels like within my family, too many aunts and uncles are too scared to go to the dentist,” said Bucio. 

The farther she got into her studies, she said she noticed something.

“I feel like I don't see anyone that looks like me," said Bucio. 

Hispanic and Latino students currently make up just about 3% of the student population at Wright State University in Dayton, but Catherine Hernandez Hogan is trying to change that.

“They come here to study. They come here to hang out, to cry, to laugh,” said Hernandez Hogan.

She’s the director at the Latino Center on campus.

“It’s important that these students know that there's a place that they can come to, to meet people and get friendships with people who have that similar background,” said Hernandez Hogan. 

She said sometimes their backgrounds are similar to her own. She said her Cuban grandparents immigrated to the U.S. with little education.

“My grandma got a third-grade education," said Hernandez Hogan. "You know, things happen where she had to drop out and so in the seventies, there were things going on in Cuba that caused her to make the decision to come and to immigrate to the United States so that her kids and her generations could have a better opportunity."

She said her grandma’s sacrifice inspired her to get a higher education.

She became a first generation college graduate, and she’s been using her degree to educate and recruit more Hispanic and Latino students to come to college.

“I’m very intentional to work with the public schools," said Hernandez Hogan. "To come to the high school and bring in these students to let them know that you deserve to be in college, too, that you can do this.”

It’s part of the reason every week during Hispanic Heritage Month, she said they’re planning events to show Hispanic and Latino students they're not alone.