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Mr. and Miss Hispanic/Latinx gives opportunities to international students

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Alexander Turner Camacho

Alexander Turner Camacho was crowned at OSU's 2022 Mr. Hispanic and strives to represent his community.

Since spring 2001, Oklahoma State University has annually crowned a Mr. & Miss Hispanic/Latinx in a scholarship pageant open to all OSU undergraduate students. 

Alexander Turner Camacho is a sophomore aerospace and mechanical engineering major. Originally from Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, Camacho moved to the U.S. at 8.

Crowned as the 2022 Mr. Hispanic, Camacho has many positive things to say about the opportunities and community OSU has brought him. The Mr. & Miss Hispanic/Latinx Scholarship Pageant aims to help develop students' leadership skills, boost confidence, expand creativity and guide contestants to become role models for their communities. 

Camacho has been given exciting opportunities such as representing the Hispanic community in the America's Greatest Homecoming parade. He also visited the Oklahoma Capitol twice to meet the governor. Although there are some upsides to having the Mr. or Miss Hispanic/Latinx title, Camacho expresses that students can do anything he is doing, too.

 “Any student can start a fundraiser, any student can create a scholarship, give a scholarship away, can contact and email any of the people I email, such as student affairs or OMA for information or your own college," he said. 

Camacho wants to give back to his community and support Hispanic International students. OSU strives to bring awareness to various Hispanic/Latinx traditions, serve students and celebrate the heritage of the communities. Participants contending for the title compete for the crown and $1,500 scholarships, as well as one year to promote and work toward their platform. 

Camacho said international students at OSU have to pay twice the amount U.S. students would and he wants to help students who left their countries to come to the U.S.

"I know some people who are currently here that are struggling with finding out how they are going to stay here after university, so I want to help with that money [from fundraising] and help them with scholarships, even if it’s a minimal amount.” Camacho said

Camacho stated after an easy application process, preparation and training begin around September, giving student contestants nearly six months to prepare for the pageant. Broadcasted live on Inside OSU, the pageant consists of multiple categories: private interviews, platform, cultural wear, talent, evening wear and a spur-of-the-moment question for all audiences to see. Contestants were also judged on professionalism.  

“There are a lot of stigmas with pageantry. I know that for me, I had people tell me that because I’m a guy it’s just weird for me to be up on a stage with a suit on, trying to look good,” Camacho said. “But that’s not the main point, the main point is to be able to professionally, accurately and effectively voice your opinions, what you believe in and your ambitions in an inspiring and truthful way. Really at the end of the day, it gives you a lot of practice in what you need to do to be a good leader in your community. It’s not about how good you look, they aren’t going to judge you on that, they will judge you on how good you present yourself and how genuine you are.” 

The Mr. & Miss Hispanic/Latinx Scholarship pageant not only serves students of this community, but it brings all together. Camacho said the pageant coordinator moved to another spot on campus but DJ Carter-Rodríguez, the coordinator of African American affairs, switched to help the pageant.

"Because we didn't have an assigned pageant coach, me and Valerie Rios (2022 Miss Hispanic) had taken on the role of being the contestant's main coach," Camacho said. "We have basically been at every single practice, and we look through their paperwork and their speeches, we are helping review their platforms, bios and speeches.” 

The 2023 Mr. & Miss Hispanic/Latinx pageant will be held on March 25, in the Student Union. More details will be announced soon.

“[Community] is really important, not so much because we want Hispanics to only be with Hispanic students, but sometimes we feel like we miss home, sometimes we feel like we miss our culture and we want to be able to fall back on our culture when we are at college," Camacho said.