The María Cano Martínez Service Award, established by University of Iowa Chicanx/Latinx alumni and students in 1982, is named in honor of María Cano Martínez, a dedicated University of Iowa and Iowa City community member.
Meet José Muñiz, student organizer and 2020 recipient of the award.
What year are you at Iowa and what are you studying?
I am a third-year Social Justice Major, Latino/a/x Studies Minor, and working toward a Certificate in Critical Cultural Competence.
What student organizations are you involved in?
I’ve had the opportunity to serve on the executive borard for the Association of Latinos Moving Ahead, I was one of the organizers for #DoesUILoveMe student movement, I was a committee member for the 2019-2020 Latinx Graduation, I’m currently a resident assistant for UH&D, and I’ve been able to be a part of various different initiatives throughout my time here at UIowa as well.
What types of service or activities have you done with the Chicanx/Latinx community and how has that impacted you?
As a freshman I was able to get a role as a Center Programming Assistant at the Latino Native American Cultural Center, so with that I’ve been able to plan different events/discussions for underrepresented students to feel like they are welcomed, supported, and know that there is a community for them here at this historically white institution.
¡Adelante!: Growing into Latinx/a/o Leadership Retreat is an initiative that I was an organizer for and served on the committee for pre-covid that was planned to target first and second year Latino/a/x students and teaching them what it means to be a leader, develop their leadership skills, and help them find leadership positions on campus.
#DoesUIowaLove was a student-led movement that I was able to be an organizer for that gave a platform for underrepresented students’ experiences to be shared and heard by administrators, faculty, and staff here at UIowa. The purpose was to bring make the university aware of the injustices and barriers that underrepresented students face on campus and to bring change to how the university treats, accommodates, supports, and represents their underrepresented students.
Recently, I became the Latinx/o Men & Masculinities Student Lead through Multicultural Student Support & Engagement, where I hope to help Latino/x men be supported, retained, and thrive here at the University of Iowa because Latino/x men are one of the highest groups of students that do not finish their college career.
What does it mean for you to be the recipient of this award?
This award means a lot to me, being someone that wants to pursue a career in being able to support underrepresented students throughout their college career this award has been able to show me that I’m going in the right direction to achieve my goals and influence others around me and make sure that they are getting the support that they need.
Is there anyone you believe inspired or helped you to get to where you are?
Oh a ton of people have helped me get to where I am. My first ever mentors in high school Wisdom Nwafor and Elia Farias pushed me to even consider coming to the University of Iowa.
My friends and family that have always supported me when I needed it and told me to keep going when things got tough academically and mentally.
One of my current mentors Thomas Arce has helped me out a ton since coming to UIowa as a freshman, Thomas has been able to help me break out of my shell, find different leadership positions, be a part of different initiatives, and ultimately continuously fill out my potential.