Blanca Linnet Hennkens-Cruz
After graduation, Blanca will work as a legal interpreter and freelance as a translator for a year in Arizona. She plans to attend law school and become an international or immigration lawyer.
Q: Describe one or two surprising ways you have changed since your first days on campus.
A: Towards the end of my semester abroad in Salamanca, a girl in my group told me I was one of the most independent people she’d ever met. Her comment took me by surprise. Having the opportunity to attend Wake Forest University was unique, to say the least. I had never even been east of Silver City, New Mexico, let alone North Carolina and Spain. The nurturing environment of Wake Forest provided the attachments I needed to wean myself away from everything I had known before. Being able to learn about the history, legacies, and culture that represent much of the foundations of my life as a Mexican in Spain was the stimulus for creative and independent thinking that helped me become the independent woman my friend discovered. I am very proud of my progression, which would not have happened without my experiences at Wake Forest.
Q: Tell us about Ritmo Latino.
A: My favorite activity was Ritmo Latino. Forty students, Latin and non-Latin, learned to choreograph and perform a wide variety of Latin dances. I had the privilege to serve as president of the organization, which was chartered during my freshman year. Dancing has helped me remain loyal to my Hispanic roots. This year, Ritmo Latino performed for the first time with all the other Wake Forest dance groups to raise funds for Project Alajuelita Dance Therapy for Impoverished Women. There is nothing more rewarding than being able to do what you love while giving tangible love back to the community.
Q: What shared values do you think unite the Wake Forest community?
A: Approachability, discipline, and conviviality. I never had a problem whenever I wanted to reach out to any of my professors, staff members, or other students because everyone is always willing to listen and help. However, the characteristic that I love most about Wake Forest is the spirit and cares-about-everyone’s well-being in our impossible-for-outsiders to imagine close-knit community where we all encourage each other to work hard, be honest, and disciplined. However it will come very easy if you don’t forget to work hard and so you can fully enjoy the fun, relationships, sports, and remarkable experiences that can only be had as a member of the Wake Forest Community during the four years.
Q: Who has influenced you during your time at Wake Forest? Who would you most like to thank and why?
A: It is impossible to pick only one person because I have been lucky to find many amazing people who have influenced me. Four people in particular will forever have my gratitude, and I will carry their contributions close to my heart.
Celina Alexander, Program Coordinator for the Office of Multicultural Affairs, is a sincere, always helpful, and genuinely concerned mentor and friend. She was with all of us through every decision, every event, and every step of the way with club and personal decisions.
Dr. French, Magnolia Scholars Director, earns my gratitude for sharing his knowledge with first generation students like me. He always offered a helping hand and inspired us with the fact that we could be successful in a different environment than we had ever known.
Without Dr. Furmanek and her encouragement, I would have never discovered my passion and the Interpreting and Translation Program. I respect Dr. Furmanek as a great linguist, and applaud her as a perpetual inspiration to me.
I will forever be thankful to have met my dear advisor and amiga Dr. Sanhueza, a woman who encouraged me to do my best, just like my mother would. Since the first time we met in class my sophomore year, she took me under her wing and has been my biggest supporter but also offered challenging critiques. She was and will always be my rock at Wake Forest.
Q: Tell us about your study abroad experience.
A: My international study was at the University of Salamanca in Spain. I absolutely fell in love with the university. I lived with a beautiful Spanish-speaking host family, and even attended a circus and the various shopping bazaars. I also completed an internship at the Documentation Center of the European Union in Salamanca. I spent free time traveling through Spain, tasting new foods, visiting museums and castles, witnessing a bullfight, and watching one of my favorite soccer teams compete in Madrid. The everyday interaction with Spanish people helped me to realize that my biggest gain from the experience was understanding who I am now. Learn to participate and enjoy whomever and whatever you encounter, and build on what is important to you.
Q: Where is the one place on campus you will miss most and why?
A: I will miss the Benson University Center, where I worked at the information desk for the last three years. It definitely became my second home at Wake Forest. I will also miss waving at my friends as they walk from and to the Food Court, welcoming incoming deacons and their families and talking to them about what I love the most about my school, making incredible friends and getting to know amazing staff members who also work in Benson, interacting with all of my Latino friends every Thursday during the OLAS meetings in 409, catching up with friends at the Food Court, and spending time at the Office of Multicultural Affairs.