'UM-Dearborn helped me find my purpose'

April 14, 2021

CASL student Daisy Recinos is graduating with honors later this month. She makes balancing school, work, volunteering, a pandemic and family look effortless. But behind her smile and energy are struggles that pushed her toward a college graduation nearly a decade in the making.

Photo of Daisy Recinos
Photo of Daisy Recinos
Graphic by Violet Dashi

People gravitate toward Daisy Recinos’ positive energy and engaging communication style.

As a community outreach coordinator — a position she learned about from a UM-Dearborn classmate — Recinos promotes Urban Neighborhood Initiatives, a nonprofit that works to enhance life where she grew up in Southwest Detroit. Being a little older and more experienced than some of her classmates, Recinos finds ways to encourage people who experience obstacles and tutors students in a variety of subjects from mathematics to Spanish.

“We are all in this together. So let’s help each other out. And when you help someone learn, you learn too,” she says. “You might not learn more about the subject you are helping teach, but you’ll gain a deeper understanding about someone’s challenges, their goals and their communication style.”

Recinos is a can-do Communications major who’s graduating college with honors later this month. She makes it look effortless while balancing school, work, volunteering, a pandemic and family. But behind Recinos’ smile and energy is the reality that pushed her to a college graduation nearly a decade in the making.

“I’ve seen struggles and I’ve experienced them,” says Recinos, who is in UM-Dearborn’s SOAR Program, which is for adults 25 and older, parents or veterans who are pursuing their first bachelor’s degree. “So, mentally, my goal is to be the person you wish you would have had in your life during those hard times.”

Recinos says she is driven by educational opportunity, something she says her mother didn’t have as a child in Guatemala. Recinos is motivated to prove others wrong; prior to her time at UM-Dearborn, Recinos had a school academic adviser tell her that she wasn’t going to make it in college. And Recinos is encouraged by the people who believe in her and wants to reward their faith with results.

“UM-Dearborn has given me everything I need to flourish. My confidence has grown along with my education. I really do have a different outlook on life,” Recinos says. “The SOAR Program reminds us to take the negative and make it into a positive learning experience. When that was first said to me, I thought, ‘You can do that?’ But it absolutely works and I’ll live by it forever.”

She says her interest in the communications field came from her want to reach out and help others. Her professors and the SOAR Program team helped her see how her natural talents and personal goals made the major a good professional fit. “I hadn’t written a paper in years, but my professors saw something in me and kept encouraging me to find and use my voice as a way to connect with people. They also taught me not everyone understands or communicates the same way, so it’s important to step back and listen to cognitively translate what people need.”

In addition to majoring in the Communications, she’s minoring in Linguistics and Hispanic Studies. Recinos is active with the international youth association Ambassadors for Christ and has traveled the world bringing food, clothing and language translation services when doing mission work in countries like Nicaragua, the Philippines and her mother and father’s native country of Guatemala.

She plans to continue her global work in the future, but — for now — the nonprofit community outreach coordinator plans to stay close-to-home and help her Southwest Detroit neighbors begin a fruit and vegetable garden, facilitate community conversations about improvements people want to see, and continue using her communication skills to connect people with resources.

“UM-Dearborn helped me find my purpose,” Recinos says. “Now it’s my turn to go out and continue using what I learned here to support my community and make the world a better place.”


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