Centro Hispano

Iris F. Lopez, Class of 2016

Major: B.S. in Exercise Science
Minor: Spanish and Biology 

Heritage: Honduran

Hobbies: Soccer, Working Out, Latin Dancing, Traveling

Organizations Involved: 
MI CASA Mentor, Centro Hispano Embajadores, UNCW Women’s Club Soccer

Where do you work?
I work as a CNA at an assisted living center. I am an intern for the Sports Science program of Wilmington Hammerheads Youth FC. I am also an intern at Breakaway Fitness & Performance. 

What are your top 3 accomplishments?

1. I will be the first one in my immediate family to graduate from a university with a bachelor’s degree. I am beyond blessed and happy to be able to make my family proud and to be an inspiration to others. I would not have been able to get so far without the support of my family and God. 

2. Throughout my journey in college, I was able to stay involved in several activities, while maintaining a good academic standing, sustaining a part-time job, playing for the UNCW Women’s Club Soccer team, volunteering for MI CASA and CHE.

3. While working as a CNA, I was able to build strong relationships with the elderly and learn valuable lessons. I learned to have patience and stay humble. I remember one day, as I was working, I was speaking to a resident and she said, “I’m so glad you actually care about me.” Sometimes we are so focused on getting something done that we forget to stop and pay attention to our surroundings. We never know who needs a friend.

What’s after college?
I plan on taking the NSCA exam to become a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and begin working in the field as a Strength and Conditioning Coach. In the near future, I hope to attend graduate school to pursue my Master’s degree in Strength and Conditioning.

Dream Job?
I hope to one day become a Strength and Conditioning Coach for a Pro-Athletic team, soccer preferably. 

Any advice to the generation rising at UNCW?
“Just because our parents originated in different countries does not mean that we cannot make it far in this country. If many Latinos older than us have made it this far, why can't you? Nothing is stopping us but our own inner thoughts. There are many obstacles and struggles we have to face in life, but all of us are capable of achieving our own personal goals. If we have ambition, we have power. Sometimes you may feel like giving up, but you have to push through it. Live your life with no regrets. Somos un orgullo hispano!”