Jessica Torrente in Peru.

MS Marketing Student Spotlight: Jessica Torrente

Jessica Torrente graduates this semester from the MS Marketing program. She shares her experience as a student living on campus.

Jessica Torrente in the desert. Q: Can you tell us about your personal journey and heritage?

Torrente: “I have always felt surrounded and deeply connected with my Latin roots as a Peruvian-Cuban American. I appreciated the food, music, and history of my cultures––and many other Hispanic cultures––growing up with my family in Miami, Florida. Truthfully, I experienced a bit of a culture shock when I first came to the University of Florida as a freshman in 2018, and it was a little hard on me at first because I felt so distant from the cultures and traditions that were such an integral part of my everyday lifestyle. I even, at times, felt very disconnected from that part of my identify as a college student in Gainesville. Nonetheless, little moments or memories would often remind me of who I was and where I came from, such as when I’d overhear other students on campus having conversations in Spanish or when I’d go out at night only to meet other students from Miami while the DJs would be playing Latin music. Throughout my time in UF, I’ve come to find that there’s a much bigger Latin presence in Gainesville than I expected, which makes me happy because I know people like me are appreciated and have a voice here.”

Q: What aspects of your culture are you most proud of?

Torrente: “I am probably most proud of the way we Hispanics carry ourselves––we are all each individually proud of our cultures and the countries where they originated, we love indulging in the rich cuisines of our ancestors and dancing around to Latin music and we get really excited to practice and share our traditions with others. It’s a really cool feeling to be able to connect to other Hispanic people instantly, even if you may have never met before. Our roots just tie us all together in a really beautiful way.”

Jessica Torrente with her father.

Torrente with her father.

Q: Any role models who have inspired you or shaped your aspirations?

Torrente: “My dad, definitely. Today he’s a successful small business owner and the greatest role model I have in my life. He’s the reason I wanted to obtain a MS Marketing degree at the UF Warrington College of Business. His parents escaped Cuba during the height of Castro’s regime, and he grew up in the US always working hard from a very young age. He didn’t even go to college; he just had a vision of being an entrepreneur and eventually opened up his own business selling lawn equipment in Miami, Florida. Despite all the ups and downs he’s faced with his business and going through “the school of life,” as he calls it, his business has tremendously grown over years. He’s been running his store for over 30 years now, and––although he really does not like to brag about it––he’s one of the highest-performing outdoor power equipment retailers in terms of sales within his region. He really achieved the American dream and taught me that hard work can get you anywhere in life. I truly hope I can make him proud with my personal and professional aspirations, in the same way that I am extremely proud to be his daughter.”

Q: Any advice for other students who may be navigating the challenges of education and finding their place?

Torrente: “My best advice is to be open-minded and make friends with other people even if they are very different from you! As a freshman at UF, I formed an entirely new friend group with girls I had never known before college. Some of them were from out of the state and didn’t know much about my Latin culture. But throughout the four years, I had so much fun getting to know each of them. We learned about each other’s backgrounds and made the best of memories––I even introduced them to Cuban croquetas, and they loved them! Today, we all remain incredibly close despite being scattered across the United States due to jobs and school. But these people were definitely my rock during college, and I am eternally grateful that UF brought us all together. So yeah, make friends with other students and put yourself out there because they might just become your life-long friends!!”

Q: One cool fact about you or anything else you want to tell us about you.

Torrente: “One fun fact about me is that I really enjoy hiking. Even though I’m from Miami and there aren’t many trails, I’ve gone hiking in a few cool places while traveling on vacation, such as the Muir Woods near San Francisco and the Grand Canyon in Arizona. However, my favorite hike by far was backpacking through the Andes Mountains of Peru to Machu Picchu––the elevation was so high that we were walking beside the clouds! In the future, I hope to visit more beautiful places around the world to go hiking.”