Karem Sandgarten grew up in a tight-knit Jewish community in Argentina. Five years ago, Sandgarten moved to the United States.
Since then, she has served as the director of finance and operations at the University of Miami Hillel. During this time, Sandgarten has “singlehandedly managed the office, kept us financially secure, advised on best practices—all while never missing a payment, request or query,” according to Miami Hillel Director of Engagement Janu Mendel.
One year after she began working, she wondered “Where are all of the Latins?” She started reaching out to students. After hearing from them about the lack of programming tailored to Hispanics, Sandgarten decided to do something completely innovative—and outside of her defined job role—about it.
Sandgarten founded Hola Hillel in 2015, a club for students who identify as both Latin and Jewish, with around 30 current student members from Argentina, Colombia, Guatemala, Uruguay and Venezuela.
“I know that everybody has something to add,” said Sandgarten. “It happens in my staff—we are very international. My director is from Russia, I am from Argentina. We have somebody from Jamaica. We can create synergy the same way we can do in the university.”