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While Nancy Gómez was writing her doctoral thesis, she spent her study breaks working on her walk.
And it paid off: The Arizona State University School of International Letters and Cultures student now wears the 2019 Miss Latin America of the World crown.
“I always wanted to participate in a pageant, but I was still just so scared, (thinking) 'I don’t have the experience, I don’t have the money, I don’t know the people,'” she said.
But that couldn’t keep Gómez from competing, all while researching and teaching.
When asked to give her final statement at the pageant, she quoted W. P. Carey School of Business student and former beauty queen Yulissa Felix: “Our culture is our biggest pride, and that pride will be our success.” This topic resonated with Gómez, a first-generation American, due to her love of the Spanish language and her Latino heritage.
Judges awarded Gómez the title, and she came back to continue her thesis research and to teach her fall classes.
“Since I was little, I knew I wanted to be a teacher,” said Gómez, who is pursuing her PhD in Spanish. “I just honestly love speaking Spanish; I have a passion for it.”
Gómez spends Tuesdays and Thursdays on campus and online teaching Spanish conversation and composition and elementary Spanish.
When she's not teaching ASU students, she gives motivational talks to teenage girls and young adult women who would like to follow in her footsteps of becoming a positive role model in their community while also embracing their love for their heritage, language, and culture.
Gómez desires to spread her love of the Spanish language, whether as a teacher or a beauty queen, to those who would like to learn it.
“I like how she encourages us. … Even if we say something wrong, we just keep talking,” said psychology and criminal justice sophomore Jessica Breeden, one of Gómez's students.
“It’s a really inviting environment.”