A Day in the Life of Joanne Ortega


Joanne Ortega

Joanne Ortega, mass communication senior lived her childhood in Dallas, Texas. She chose this university due to it being a smaller institution.

“I was born and raised in Dallas, Texas,” Ortega said. “And I originally went to an all-girls high school. So when I was applying for colleges, I wanted something small just like my school since I was graduating with a class of 62 students. I wanted to have a connection with the professors.”

As a Dallas resident, Ortega said that going to school in Wichita Falls, provided a good balance of being close to home yet not too close.

“I originally came here not knowing anyone,” Ortega said. “So it was kind of hard my freshmen year. But I eventually got to make friends.”

Despite being very introverted and shy, Ortega joined Sigma Lambda Alpha, the Organization for Hispanic Students (OHS), and PRIDE. She was also an RA. Being a member of Sigma Lambda Alpha made Ortega come out of her comfort zone and confidently communicated with people.

“My spring semester, I joined Sigma Lambda Alpha,” Ortega said. “I wanted to join them because I saw the community service and the sisterhood that they had. So being in SLA made me grow out of my shell and my confront zone because all my sisters were encouraging me to try new things.”

Ortega also explained the culture shock she had experienced coming from a predominately Hispanic and Black high school to a white majority college. She said that joining OHS was important for her celebrate the growing diversity on campus.

“My first year, I didn’t really see very much diversity,” Ortega said. “That’s one of the main reasons why I joined OHS because I wanted that connection. And it was kind of different going from my high school which was predominantly Hispanic and African Americans. The change was kind of eye opening.”

Ortega also said that the growing diversity has been very influential to many women on this campus, especially women of color. Ortega further said that the experience of these women have encouraged her to be the best student she could be.

“Being able to connect with other Hispanics and women of color is really empowering just because I see their struggles and it empowers them,” Ortega said. “It’s just pushes me to want to make MSU as welcoming as it can be for other people. I definitely like the change being made and having those connections with other women is helpful.”

On top of being apart of PRIDE, Sigma Lambda Alpha and OHS as well as being an RA, Ortega has 3 to 4 jobs. One of the most important things Ortega said she has learned is time management. She also said that it is important to find a strong group of friends that could assist you in your studies and provide you with moral support.

“It’s all about time management,” Ortega said. “And keeping your planner organized. I haven’t been as good this semester but I’m trying to get back on track. I think having someone to rely on is beneficial especially for moral support and for help with studying.”

Ortega also explained that a lesson she learned is the importance of taking care of herself.

“I was doing so much that I didn’t have enough me time,” Ortega said. “So being able to acknowledge that you need to take a step back and process everything and maybe just have that self-care every once in a while.”

Since she did not know anyone coming into the school, Ortega said that her favorite experience was making the friends that she has.

“Everyone was so friendly when I was trying to figure out where my classes were,” Ortega said. “And where the information desk was so that I can get my student ID. Everyone was willing to help and I kind of liked that. It wasn’t as hard to make friends since everyone so already so friendly.”

Lia Wiley, criminal justice junior said that the first word that comes to her mind when thinking of Ortega is radiant.

“Every time I see her, she is just so happy and smiling,” Wiley said.

Wiley also said that Ortega is a great role model for women due to her willingness to help people.

“She’ll just always help you no matter what. She was always willing to help me with my homework.”

Wiley said that her favorite experience with Ortega was eating with her at Einstein’s after class.

“We used to have classes that ended at the same time so we would go to Einstein’s afterwards.”

Cynthia Hubbard, marketing junior and president of Sigma Lambda Alpha, said that the goals of Sigma Lambda Alpha is to empower Latinas and other women. According to Hubbard, Ortega’s actions on campus reflects these goals.

“Sigma Lambda Alpha is an organization that stands to empower women,” Hubbard said. “Joanne is constantly involved on and off campus and working hard to make a difference in the world. As a first generation student, she sets a great example for young girls as well as to other women.”

Hubbard had met Ortega through becoming a member of Sigma Lambda Alpha. Hubbard said that she noticed Ortega by how very fashionable she was.

“When I first met Joanne I thought she was incredibly stylish and beautiful,” Hubbard said. “I immediately wanted to be her friend. As we went through the new member process in SLA I came to realize that Joanne is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside.”

Hubbard said that her favorite quality about Ortega is that she is very creative. Ortega’s creativity is very useful when working with Hubbard in brainstorming for activities regarding Sigma Lambda Alpha. Hubbard also said that Ortega is also thoughtful of the opinions of her sorority members when discussing ideas.

“Her creativity shown in any form (graphics, paintings, crafts) are an amazing representation of her mind body and soul,” Hubbard said. “She and I worked well together. We would brainstorm together and she could easily bring my ideas and thoughts to life. She always made sure to include everyone and was always considerate of everyone’s opinions and/or feelings.