Two CU Denver staff walking on campus in front of mural.
Jaime Álvarez, Assistant Director for First Generation and Latinx Student Outreach and Aisury Vasquez, Latinx Students Services Director, talking about Admitted Students Day.

Translation and Tech Welcome Spanish-Speaking Admitted Students and Their Parents to CU Denver

April 12, 2023

This year, the University of Colorado Denver will provide live language interpretation technology to Spanish-speaking students and families attending Admitted Students Day on April 21.

The day is designed to give admitted students a taste of life as a Lynx as they make their final decisions about where to attend college in the fall. About 1,000 guests are expected to attend and learn more about the university’s colleges and schools, programs, financial services, advising, housing, school culture, and how to register for classes. Tours and fun activities round out the day-long event. 

Students and staff create connections through personal experience

While Admitted Students Day is an annual event, the language interpretation services with headset technology being provided, is a new element which aims to helps Spanish-speaking students and their families feel like there is a home for them at CU Denver. This is yet another way to help achieve CU Denver’s strategic goal of becoming the nation’s first equity-serving institution and to support incoming students and their families. About one-half of the university’s undergraduates are students of color, and approximately one-quarter identify as Hispanic or Latinx.

Paulina Sanchez-Trujillo, a student majoring in accounting and Admitted Students Day ambassador, is thrilled with the new services available to those who attend. “With Spanish-speaking parents, I had to do everything on my own because my parents didn’t know how to help,” said the first-generation student and Displaced Aurarian Scholarship recipient. By combining everyone into the day’s events with the help of integrated language support, she believes it will help students be more successful in college and beyond. 

Those who registered and indicated they spoke Spanish will be given a handheld receiver and headset when they check in on April 21, explained Latinx Students Services Director Aisury Vasquez. She helped bring this technology to campus. Users will be able to hear, understand, share ideas, and ask questions about everything discussed within the larger sessions. In addition, there will be staff and student ambassadors wearing buttons to indicate they speak Spanish and are there to assist. 

“Getting an education can be challenging and expensive,” she said. “If (prospective students) are going to commit to us, we have to commit to them in more ways than academics. It’s important that students and their families know that we get it. My mom never went because she didn’t think she would understand. Giving parents an opportunity to get involved creates a relationship with the family, too.” And, she believes the acknowledgment of the complexity of Spanish-speaking families is another example of the commitment the university is making to being an inclusive campus.

Local company provides interpreters and tech

Giovanna Carriero-Contreras, co-owner and co-founder of Cesco Linguistic Services, the company providing the interpreters and technology for Admitted Students Day, started the company 20 years ago because she saw that Colorado desperately needed more and better language access.

“Being able to understand what your children are experiencing first-hand, and understand what is coming next, means you can buy into the future they envision,” she said.

For Jaime Álvarez, assistant director for First Generation and Latinx Student Outreach at CU Denver, the inclusion of translation services sends a strong message to our Latinx community. 

“Having everyone included in the same sessions demonstrates that we are all a part of the same community and are here to support each other,” he said.

For those attending, the smiling face of student ambassador and psychology major, Mia Jannika Lim, will be among the first things people see as they get checked in and receive the goody bags she is helping to make. “It can be nerve-racking to make a decision like this, so I want everyone to feel welcome.”