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Student Life

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

by Leonardo Hinojosa

Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to celebrate the diverse tapestry of Hispanic and Latino/a/x/e cultures and their contributions to our society. This month is an opportunity to engage in meaningful dialogue around the complexity of Latinidad and elevate voices within the community.

Today, we're honored to share the stories and perspectives of three remarkable MBA students from Rice Business, each with a unique background and set of experiences that embody the spirit of this month.

Sonia Miyazono
Sonia Yuri Miyazono, Full-Time MBA

Sonia Yuri Miyazono Ushijima: Proudly Mexican with a global perspective

Sonia, a second-year Full-Time MBA student, originally comes from Aguascalientes, Mexico. She embarked on her MBA journey in the United States just last year, and this experience has deepened her connection to her Mexican identity and roots.

“Being out of my country has made me prouder of my identity as a Mexican,” Sonia says, “and Hispanic Heritage Month holds a special place in my heart. This month celebrates all facets of ‘Latinidad,’ uniting everyone. I have Japanese ancestry, was born and raised in Mexico, identify as Mexican, and feel part of the broader Latine community. The diversity within Latinidad is incredible.”

Another aspect of her experience at Rice Business is Houston’s status as the most ethnically diverse city in America. Houston’s diversity fosters adaptability and flexibility, making it possible to attract talented professionals in every industry.

For Sonia, the Rice MBA has broadened her intellectual and professional horizons. She advises prospective students, “Embrace the opportunities and resources available to you, and keep an open mind.”

Nikki Suarez
Nikki Suarez, Professional MBA

Nikki Suarez: Celebrating dual heritage and fostering unity

Nikki, a Professional MBA student hailing from La Paz, Bolivia, brings a rich blend of cultures to Rice Business. Her dual heritage as a Bolivian and Mexican Latina are a source of pride and inspiration during Hispanic Heritage Month.

According to Nikki, “Hispanic Heritage Month is an opportunity to reflect on my unique heritage as someone with multiple cultural identities. It's an honor to celebrate the contributions of people of Hispanic descent, including my own relatives. This month brings into focus the distinct flavors, music and histories of Latinos, and I'm thrilled to share my heritage with others.”

Nikki serves as a testament to the power of the Latin Business Student Association (LBSA). She highlights the importance of LBSA in promoting camaraderie among members and fostering unity within the broader student body. Through social events, workshops, networking opportunities and the Amigue Program — a mentorship program for first-year MBAs at Rice Business — LBSA creates a sense of belonging.

To prospective students, Nikki advises, “Embrace this extraordinary experience. Lean into what makes you unique. And build a support network. Show up as your authentic self, and you'll find the confidence and strength to succeed.”

Interested in Rice Business?

Nicole Conforti
Nicole Conforti, Full-Time MBA

Nicole Conforti: Championing Latin American culture and resilience

Nicole brings a unique blend of experiences to her MBA journey at Rice Business. Born in Michigan and raised in Argentina, the 2nd-year Full-Time MBA student represents both countries with pride and is deeply passionate about inspiring fellow Latines to achieve their goals.

Nicole’s extensive international exposure, combined with her marketing background, makes her appreciate Houston's diversity as a tremendous asset to the business landscape. Diversity encourages innovation and adaptability, and it helps position the city as a dynamic and inclusive business hub.

For Nicole, the Rice MBA program has been instrumental in advancing her professional objectives. The support of faculty and staff, combined with enriching courses and a supportive community, has been pivotal in her career growth.

To prospective students, Nicole offers valuable advice: “Approach the MBA journey with an emphasis on passion, people and purpose. Foster a strong sense of ‘familia’ within the MBA community, where you feel at home and actively care for others.”

Leonardo Hinojosa is an assistant director of recruiting and admissions.


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