Erika Treviño is a Research Support Coordinator who manages the operations for six faculty members and their research team members. She has been with the Department of Biomedical Engineering for a little more than a year after starting in August of 2022.

Erika describes herself as a second-generation Mexican American, born in Laredo, Texas. Both of her parents are first generation Mexican Americans, born in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico. Her mother became a U.S. Citizen through the naturalization process and her father is a U.S. Permanent Resident.

For Erika, growing up in Laredo was a culturally enriching experience due to its large Hispanic population.

“I loved growing up in a border town because I received the best of both worlds. I was able to celebrate and be part of all the Mexican customs and traditions that my ancestors passed down while also celebrating all the U.S. holidays and traditions I grew up with,” said Treviño.

At the same time, Erika notes that growing up in Laredo played a role in the identity crisis that she, like so many Mexican Americans, feel.

There’s a saying in Spanish that says ‘Ni de aquí, ni de allá,’ which translates to ‘neither from here, nor from there.’ Sometimes it becomes a bit difficult to navigate through this identity when you are so proud of your heritage but also so proud of the country you’re born in.

Growing up in Texas, Erika felt that she could not say she is Mexican because she wasn’t born there despite identifying with her Mexican roots. Consequently, if she were to tell her Mexican family that she was American, they would be quick to correct her.

“This would be a constant internal question, ‘How do I describe who I am?’" she said.

Now Erika’s perspective has changed to reflect her dual heritage:

“Soy de aquí, soy de de allá,’ which means ‘I am from here, I am from there.’ I am so proud of my roots that ultimately make up who I am. I am Mexican because I was born to Mexican parents who have instilled in me the beautiful heritage that I am so proud of and often celebrate. And I am also American because I was born and raised here. I feel very blessed to be able to enjoy two cultures that I truly love without having to give up any part of me,” she said.

Erika is happily married to her husband Rolando Treviño and they are currently expecting their first child, Victoria, who is due in October. She said she is ecstatic to share with her daughter all of the Mexican customs and traditions that her relatives of several generations passed down to her while also sharing with her all the customs and traditions of the United States.