Texas Tech University

Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month: Leslie Cuevas, Ph.D.

Ashley Brister

September 3, 2021

Leslie Cuevas, Ph.D.

Hear from our faculty in the College of Human Sciences on why their Hispanic/Latinx heritage is an important part of their role at Texas Tech.

What is your job title and what does that entail?

I am an Assistant Professor of Retail in the Hospitality and Retail Management department. My job entails three main responsibilities: research, teaching, and service. In my research, I focus on studying consumer culture, online consumer behavior, and marginalized individuals. For example, my dissertation focused on Latina Millennial mothers' experience with motherhood and the role social media influencers played in reshaping their ideals. My teaching responsibility includes marketing, social media, and retail trends—subject matters of which I very much enjoy teaching. Lastly, my service responsibility includes (but is not limited to) reviewing work for scholarly journals and serving on several committees. Currently, I proudly serve as chair for the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. 

What brought you to the College of Human Sciences and Texas Tech?

I saw the growing population of Hispanic students at Texas Tech as an opportunity to serve as representation. Every student deserves an educational experience with someone at the front of the classroom who looks like them - it builds belonging and success for both students and professors alike. The College of Human Sciences is also composed of amazing educators and academics who I felt would be wonderful people to work with as well as influence my professional development greatly. 

Does your heritage allow you to bring a different perspective to your job?

Absolutely. As a first-generation, Hispanic/Latina who was born and raised in a South Texas border town, I am receptive to the challenges that ethnic minorities often encounter in higher education. For example, many of us are from the same area, have the same background, and often have similar experiences – this includes the trials and tribulations of being the first in our families to pursue higher education. Terms like “FAFSA” are new concepts and choosing the right college can be beyond our scope. Once stepping foot on campus, the lack of Latino/a representation in the classroom impacts one's ability to feel understood and the list of “firsts” continues. I, therefore, believe that representation matters because it gives voice, perspective, and a sense of belonging to those who are often marginalized and underrepresented. My experiences have impacted the way I approach my job responsibilities; in my teaching, mentoring, research, and service. The passion and grit of my people guides me in doing my job every day.

What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?

Hispanic Heritage Month means to me the highlighting, sharing, and celebrating of our people's life work and contributions. In sharing our stories that are rooted in perseverance and hard work, family bonds, and family pride, we inspire future generations to succeed; we motivate our Hispanic youth to understand and embrace their heritage. Our histories, cultures, and successes not only educate others about our beautiful heritage but also helps us remember the place we hold as Hispanic people in this world. 

How do you support students in the College of Human Sciences?

I was blessed to experience immense support and guidance from compassionate mentors in my educational studies. For this reason, I recognize the importance of educators and mentors who uphold compassion while also empowering their students with suitable instruments to be prosperous in any field. I support my students with kindness, open communication, showing interest in their endeavors, and giving advice when needed. It is amazing how much you can encourage students by simply showing you care. 

What do you love most about the College of Human Sciences?

The people - faculty, staff, and students are all so welcoming. I recently celebrated my one year at Texas Tech. I was hired during the pandemic which meant teaching online and Zoom meetings. I worked from home for an entire year. However, I never felt alone. Someone was always reaching out to make sure I was doing alright, professionally or personally. I love the support the COHS community offers.