Meet a Loper Graduate: Cristian Prado Frias sets example for younger family members

Cristian Prado Frias of Cozad graduates Friday with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish translation and interpretation. He plans to pursue certification to become a medical interpreter.

What does this moment mean to you?
This means so much, not only to me, but also my family for being a first-generation graduate. My parents came from Mexico for my siblings and me to have more opportunities, and this is the culmination of their efforts. I also hope I can be a role model for my nieces when they decide to pursue a college degree.

What’s your career goal? Why did you choose this path?
I want to help people, and I believe that a language barrier should not keep people from getting the help and care they need. Growing up I used to help interpret for people with limited English proficiency. Seeing the smile on their faces when I was helping them has no price tag.

How did UNK help prepare you for your future career?
UNK helped me network with people in various career paths, which piqued my interest in my future career.

Who was the most influential person during your undergraduate career?
I would say Ashley Olivas. She’s been following me along my undergraduate journey, from being my adviser in the Office of Student Diversity and Inclusion, to helping me find an internship through UNK. She has been so supportive and always knows when I need a stern talking to or just a good laugh.

What activities/organizations were you involved in at UNK? How did that enhance your education?
I was involved in Hispanic Student Association as treasurer, as well as Spanish Club. Both brought me closer to the Spanish language and gave me a bit of a confidence booster just by speaking Spanish with other students at various proficiency levels.

What was your most memorable experience at UNK?
Definitely the first week on campus my freshman year, just trying to get a grasp on everything and not even thinking about when I’d graduate. Looking back now, it’s crazy to think about how far I’ve come and all the friends I’ve made along the way.

If you could go back in time and do something differently, what would it be?
I would love to go back and take more pictures of my time on campus, just hanging out with friends.

Tell me about the time when you worked the hardest during your undergrad career:
It would have to be when COVID came up and disrupted everything. Having to deal with moving back home and trying to get a grasp on what was going on while also attempting to interpret everything into Spanish so my parents could understand what was happening put a huge strain on everything. I remember finishing class and going to work, then staying up late to work on homework or study, then repeating the process over and over.

Who’s someone from UNK you’ll never forget?
I will always remember Angela Monterroso, my adviser, for all her help throughout my undergraduate career. She always knew what to say when times were tough, and her sense of humor in class created a fun environment that pushed me to learn more and reach my full potential.

What was your favorite class?
Any translation class with profesora Monterroso! She loved to shake things up in class. No two semesters were ever the same.

What advice do you have for current and future Lopers?
Don’t be afraid to take a break from studying to hang out with friends and de-stress a bit. I can thank my friends for really helping me find the perfect balance between work and play, albeit sometimes leaning more toward play.