Thanks From Americas High School Career & Technical Education

On behalf of Americas High School Career and Technical Education Department, I would like to express our gratitude for your participation at our Second Annual Career Fair. You have played a big role in the enlightenment of our students as to the opportunities available to them outside the confines of our school. Your experience, knowledge, and expertise are very beneficial to them. This information will help them select a career field and in turn, make appropriate selections of courses for the next two years.

Career: Telemundo Anchor Karla Leal

Describe your current job now and what you like about it:

I have the blessing of being the main anchor and reporter for Telemundo Austin. We cover the central Texas area providing local, national and international news in Spanish during our 5pm and 10pm noticieros on cable channel 75, and digital channel 42.2

I love being at the service of the community of central Texas. My favorite part of my job is that, when I work on a story (TV Report), I become a path for people to share their world.

What kind of training was needed to do the work you do?

I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Broadcast Journalism, but before I completed my undergraduate degree I had some training that helped me feel more comfortable on camera.

I have an Associate’s Degree in Theatre Arts from the Centro de Artes Escenicas del Noroeste in Tijuana, Mexico.

I also studied Radio Announcing & TV Performance at the San Diego School of Broadcasting.

I believe education can always help you improve and advance in your career, so I go to conventions, and apply for fellowships and journalism seminars regularly.

Currently I have a scholarship from the International Center for Journalists, and I am receiving training on multimedia journalism from this organization.

How is your culture reflected in the work you do and the perspective you have?

The Latino culture is everywhere in our Noticiero Telemundo Austin. We deliver the news in Spanish, and the majority of the news content is local and/or Latino related. We are committed to proving news in a non-biased way, so we don’t include our perspective in the stories of our shows.

However, as a reporter, I am always fascinated by how each person can tell a story (report) in so many different ways. That’s where our interpretation of events & anecdotes comes in.

Is there a story you’ve covered that still affects you? What was it and why?

There are many stories that have a special place in my heart. It’s hard to choose a favorite. I’ve been able to travel Mexico, and some parts of the U.S. to report on issues that have local impact. I’ve also interviewed many people with unique perspectives and experiences to share.

Two ladies who I will never forget are Adriana Macias and Alicia Anaya. Macias is a motivational speaker who was born with no arms. She uses her feet to do what her arms would. Just being around her is empowering. Telling her story made me realize we shouldn’t take things for granted.

Anaya is one of the children who motivated the Mendez vs. Westminster federal court case in 1946.  The case challenged racial segregation in southern California schools, and it set precedent for other movements of this type in other parts of the country.  This case was filled by Gonzalo and Felicitas Mendez—Anaya’s tios—after they tried to enroll their daughter and niece in a school, and they were denied entrance because the children were of Mexican descent. The girls had to go to an all Mexican school, and the Mendez decided to take action to end this type of discrimination. Anaya treasures so many valuable parts of history; I was captured by her anecdotes. She grew up in a society were speaking Spanish was punishable, and Latinos in general seeing as second class citizens. It was an honor to interview someone that left a positive mark in history.

Recently I reported on a project called “31-thousand portraits for peace,” and on the “Tejano Monument” coming to the Texas State Capitol next year. Both stories are also in my favorite files.

What do you do in your free time?

Austin has helped me discover I love the outdoors. I got here, and I became a marathon runner. That’s why I love jogging around Town Lake, downtown and many other areas of our city. I also go to Lady Bird Lake to practice Stand-up paddling. I enjoy reading, so I volunteer reading with second graders through the academic school year as part of a program called “Compañeros de Lectura.”

I like to cook for my family and friends. My favorite rhythms to dance to are samba, salsa and anything from Colectivo Nortec (my favorite band). I enjoy listening to live music. The Austin Symphony Orchestra is among my local favorites. I like going to the museums and festivals in town. I also relax watching plays, going to the opera, dance performances, etc.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

The sky is the limit. My goal is to become an established journalist. I want to continue acquiring skills that will help me evolve in the industry I currently work for.  I want to evolve and have the opportunity to take on leadership roles to empower future generations of professionals interested in the communications industry.

I currently share my successes and struggles with my parents and sister, but in the future, I know I will find the path to have a family of my own to love, nurture and empower too.

First U.S. Digital Magazine For Young Latinas Celebrates 10 Year Mark by Honoring 20 Under 20

AUSTIN/EL PASO, TX  – Jan. 23, 2012 – Still the only magazine made for and by young Latinas, celebrates 10 years of publishing and programs by honoring 20 Under 20 Outstanding Young Latinas.

Started in a college class, Latinitas has published over 2000 articles since its inception, reaches 30,000 readers a month and is also a non-profit agency that has empowered 20,000 girls and teens using media and technology through clubs, camps, workshops and conferences since its inception in 2002.

Latinitas’ programs are located in Central and West Texas and, recently, New Mexico, but its readership is international, yielding hits as far as Australia, Spain and Chile and as nearby as Middle America.  Girls and teens enrolled in Latinitas’ bilingual and bicultural programs learn multimedia journalism, with a strong focus on culture and media literacy. 

Why make media for young Latinas?  Founders Laura Donnelly Gonzalez and Alicia Rascon explain, “Young Latinas are consistently misrepresented in media.  The images are negative, over-sexualized or are not there at all.” said Donnelly Gonzalez.  Rascon added, “We are putting the power of media in the girls’ hands so they can debunk the stereotypes and create a more accurate portrayal of being Latina in the U.S.”

To celebrate 10 years of programs and publishing, Latinitas launched its first annual 20 Under 20 Awards for young Latinas engaged in their communities creating impact.

 “20 Under 20” awardees were chosen from a national nomination process.   Winners came from Washington DC,  Salt Lake City, UT, Phoenix, AZ and Texas cities like San Antonio, El Paso, Austin and Lubbock.

Starting on Latinitas’ official 10th birthday: Jan 30, the magazine will feature a 20 Under 20 spotlight for 20 days in as a way to honor and recognize these young women who give to their community daily.

“Experiencing homelessness at an early age did not get in the way for teenager, Nancy Martinez, from accomplishing her goals and helping her community. She was able to overcome hardships and kept herself busy in the numerous organizations.” said her 20 Under 20 nominator, Noraine Buttar.

“Her participation in the Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition of Alexandria (SAPCA), Project  Sticker Shock¸ counselor aid, mentor, and Latina Youth for Excellence (LYFE), where she serves as president¸ she has demonstrated that there’s no goal you can’t reach.” Buttar added. “Young Latinas look up to Nancy. They see how much she has accomplished both in school and in the community through her volunteer efforts, and they want to emulate her behavior and successes.”

For more information contact the Latinitas press office at 512.447.4440 x137.


Established in 2002, Latinitas ( is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization whose mission is to empower young Latinas through media and technology. Latinitas has been a vital part of young Latinas’ lives through after-school programs, teen internships, Saturday and summer camps, special events, and the very first online e-zine for young Latinas—, which is read by over 30,000 a month.  Latinitas has served over 20,000 girls and teens with its program since its origin.

Eric Rodriguez, Intern Spotlight

As a nonprofit organization, Latinitas relies on our Graphic Design Interns to come up with creative ways to gain the attention of volunteers, sponsors, and members. This is why, Latinitas is very happy to recognize Eric Rodriguez for all his creative designs and his hard works. In addition, he shares some of his thoughts about his experience as an intern with Latinitas.

Name: Eric C. Rodriguez

Major: Art
College/ School: Utep
Internship Position: Graphic Design

What made you decide to intern with Latinitas? I was looking for an internship that would help me get a foot in the Graphic Design world. Also, I wanted an internship where I could give back.

What do you like most about Latinitas? I like that is a nonprofit organization, that helps latinas discover who they are and it better prepares them for the world after high school. 

Why do you think an organization like Latinitas is important for young girls?  Why would you recommend it for others? Any organization like Latinitas is important because many young girls may not have a role model to look up to, or have any idea what they plan to do after school and a origination like Latinitas helps them develop skills they can use and maybe go on to study.

What do you hope to learn or gain from an internship with Latinitas? What I hope to gain from this internship is a better understanding of Graphic Design and how better use the programs needed for Graphic design.

Give a summary of the projects your worked on during your internship:

Flyers, posters, cards, web page.

What do you consider your biggest accomplishment during the internship? The friendships I have made.

Would you recommend this internship to a friend? Why?

Yes, I will recommend this internship to my friends because they will meet fantastic people who can become future long term friends to them.

Anna Ramirez, Club Leader Spotlight

Club leaders are a fundamental resource in order to keep on empowering our local Latina Youth by directly mentoring girls through our weekly club meetings. Latinitas wants to thank Anna for her dedication and hard work. She shares some of her experiences as a club leader.

Name: Anna Ramirez

Major: Nursing
College/ School: EPCC
Internship Position: Club Leader Intern

What made you decide to intern with Latinitas? To gain experience and to be able to help younger girls with confidence.

What do you like most about Latinitas? Being a role model for younger Latina girls.

Why do you think an organization like Latinitas is important for young girls?  Why would you recommend it for others? I believe that not all girls have the role model they need and they should have the opportunity of going somewhere to be themselves. I would recommend it because Latinitas is the place to be yourself.

What did you enjoy the most about being a Club Leader? Working with the girls and I enjoyed being a role model for them.

What was your favorite memory? Meeting all the girls for the first time and being at the office with all the other interns.

How do you feel the club helped the girls? What did the girls lean from the club? They learned about being a Latina and be proud of it, what a role model is and why is important to look up to good role models and they learn how to express themselves.

What tips would you give future club leaders? Be nice, calm and friendly. Above all, just have fun!!

Scholarship Recipient: Karen Lopez

Karen Lopez
College: University of Texas at El Paso
Major: International Business
Class of 2013

Being a woman in the Hispanic community has always given me a disadvantage when it comes to others viewing me as a leader, an individual they can rely on. All over the world Latinas are known for dropping out of school at a young age, having kids while still being kids themselves, and just not doing anything worthy with their lives. Those remarks give me the drive I need to do something with my life and prove those stereotypes wrong. As a result, I am attending both UTEP and EPCC in order to finish earning my BA of Sciences in international business at UTEP, go on to get my MBA and eventually finish with a PhD in marketing. It may seem like quite a goal to achieve; even for someone that doesn’t have the disadvantages that Latinas are given, but having a greater education has been imprinted in my mind since the first day of kindergarten. Besides my ambitious educational goals my dream is to become a well-known marketing professor at Oxford University in England.

College has always been a shrine of some sorts for me. Its always had that special meaning to me when it comes to the classes, the professors, the graduation ceremonies, everything. As a young woman I am incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to attend a university that will be a stepping stone for the rest of my life. With both my parents being from Mexico and having the honor to be the first generation to study in the United States graduating college has a deeper meaning. It not only helps me achieve my goal but it shows my parents their hard work wasn’t in vain. No matter what anyone says the support a parent gives can’t be surpassed by anything else and making my parents proud is as important to me as graduating and eventually becoming a doctor.

With the educational stipend that was given to me thanks to the wonderful sponsors that helped Latinitas make this a reality I will make sure it will not go to waste. Paying for college has been hard, especially when it has to come out of my parents’ pocket. Having not one but two kids in college my parents often find it hard to come up with the money for our tuition giving us no choice but to accumulate student loans. Something that right off the bat will put pressure on us to find a job once we get out of school. This educational stipend will help unload some of the pressure we have when it comes to paying for tuition. To some it may not mean much but this means the world to me. Having the stipend will help me focus more on my studies and not so much on work and things I need to do to afford tuition payments.

Sara Aragon, Volunteer Spotlight

As most of you already know, as a nonprofit organization we completely rely on our volunteers to help us achieve our mission of empowering local Latina youth through media, culture and technology. As Mother Theresa once said “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop,” and definitely Latinitas will be less if it wasn’t for our wonderful volunteers. That is why; Latinitas wants to recognize Sara Aragon for her outstanding effort and work. Here is some information about Sara to get to know her better.

Name: Sara Aragon

School: University of the Incarnate Word – San Antonio, TX

Employer/ Job Title: All Systems Technologies – Office Manager

What is your volunteer position?  Marketing for the Alliance for Latinitas

What volunteer projects have you helped with?
Fashionistas Inspiring Girls Fashion Show, Tiara Tuesday, Fotos de Mi Alma

How long have you’ve been volunteering with Latinitas?
I started volunteering with Latinitas in April of 2010

How did you become interested in volunteering for Latinitas?
When I graduated from Incarnate Word I moved back to El Paso and I felt that I wanted to do something to give back to the community, my dad told me about an organization that he had read about in the newspaper and it was Latinitas. I instantly fell in love with the goals and purpose of Latinitas it was exactly what I was looking for. I am able to use my communications degree to help young Latinas find their voice and get excited about going to college.

What has been your most rewarding experience as a volunteer?
Seeing the girls and hearing their stories of how Latinitas has helped them always makes me want to work harder. I bought a photograph at Fotos de Mi Alma that was taken by one of the participants and it is hanging in my room, not only is it a beautiful picture but seeing it every day reminds me of the young girls in the community and all their potential to become anything they want to be.

What do you like most about being a volunteer for Latinitas?
The thing that I like most about being a volunteer with Latinitas is that when you volunteer, you become a part of the Latinitas family. Everyone supports each other and we all become friends working toward the same goal, encouraging each other along the way. Everyone involved has such a passion for making Latinitas succeed, it’s very inspiring.

Why do you think an organization like Latinitas is important?
I feel that Latinitas is an awesome way to get young girls involved with the community and most importantly themselves and their well being. Latinitas gives them the tools to realize their true potential and to find their voice.

Latinitas Helps Latina Teens Become Agents of Change (El Paso, TX)

El Paso, TX- To inspire the next generation of Latina leaders, Latinitas will host a leadership institute where Latina teens can learn how to develop their leadership skills while helping their community. Latinitas will kick off a Teen Leadership Institute on January 28, 2012, at the Jose Cisneros Public Library from 10:00am to 4:00pm. The kickoff ceremony will consist of a full day conference where teenage high school girls will discover how their abilities and strengths can make a difference in the community. The program requires that all participants attend monthly meetings to learn about various leadership methods, decision making skills, goal setting, public speaking, civic engagement and volunteerism. Participants are asked to organize two community events and to complete a minimum of 20 volunteer hours. As part of the program, the teens are able to meet local Latina leaders who will give presentations to the girls on a variety of issues. Upon successful completion of the program, the teens will celebrate their accomplishments in a graduation ceremony to be held in May.

Latinitas launched the Teen Leadership Institute in reaction to the growing number of teenage Latina girls who are more likely to be at risk of dropping out of high school, getting pregnant, and committing suicide. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 4.8 percent of Latina girls between the ages of 15-19 gave birth to a child in 2008 as compared to only 1.7 percent of Anglo girls in the same age range. Through after-school programs, camps, conferences and internships, Latinitas aims to transform these kind of figures.

“Through the Teen Leadership Institute, Latinitas hopes to empower and encourage girls to challenge themselves to reverse these negative trends,” said Alicia Rascon, Executive Director of Latinitas. “We want Latina teenagers to discover their own strengths and develop their leadership skills all while actively engaging themselves in the community.”

Rascon brought Latinitas to the El Paso community from Austin, TX in 2008. Since then, Latinitas has hosted after-school programs, offered summer camps and provided empowerment workshops where young Latinas can build confidence, discover their voice, develop cultural pride, and learn about creative self-expression. Latinitas has also recruited and motivated young teenage girls to express themselves through their online magazine,, the first digital magazine by and for U.S. Latina youth.

Latinitas is currently accepting applications from Latinas in grades 9-12 interested in enrolling in the Teen Leadership Institute and attending the kick off event. The deadline to apply is January 20th. For more information on enrolling contact Latinitas at (915)219-8554, or submit an online application.

Elizabeth Lara, 20 Latinitas Under 20

Elizabeth Lara
Age: 17
Heritage: Mexican-American
Hometown: Cd.Juarez, Mexico

Volunteer Experience:
I have volunteereed at school selling concessions during volleyball games, hosting fundraisers, participating in canned food drives, contributing to coat drives and at school festivals I have worked certain booths. Also, I have participated in the LULAC convention for women and for the BMW Passion for Fashion event to raise funds for AIDS.

Biggest Challenge:
The biggest challenge I have overcome, is speaking in front of a large group of people. Recently, since I am the Historian for the Dual Language Advisory Board at school, we had a convention with over 300 students, teachers from all over the district, and the Ambassador from Spain. The representatives from every school had to give a speech on what the club was doing at the schools, and also explaining the importance o f speaking both languages. I had to give part of the speech, and even though I was a nervous wreck at first, I managed to give a good explanation, hence overcoming that insecurity.

Leadership Experience:
Some of my leadership experiences is being the soccer captain for two consecutive years. All the younger girls look up to me for advice on and off the field. The feeling of helping someone excel is indescribable, especially when they take the time to go and say “thank you”.

Clubs & Activities:
I am on the yearbook staff at school, on the Dual Language Advisory Board, and I am on the soccer team. I am also part of the organization called Fellowship of Christian Athletes; this is a place to create bonds with students from all the different sports all over campus.

I think the fact that I never settle for average is something that makes me a role model for other people. I have always been taight to go for the extra and never to give up. Girls can be very insecure at times, but I have learned everyone has virtues and weaknesses that with time will turn into strengths.

Scholarship Opportunities: It’s a Latina’s game

By Marcela Evans

Your senior year of high school is such an exciting time. Your high school career is almost over and you’ve picked the colleges you want to attend. What is the next step?

No, the answer is not how to decorate your dorm room (that comes later). You need to start thinking about how to pay for the next two, three, four, or more years of school.

A college education is expensive. The costs soar with the tuition and fees, food, housing, books and assorted extras. According to The College Board ( the price of a private four-year university comes in at a little over $20,000 per year, and the price of a public four-year university is around $5000.

That big price tag might be discouraging, but don’t fret. Did you know that the government and numerous organizations give out free money? Some students even pay for their entire college education through grants and scholarships. Lucky for Latinas, financial aid opportunities aimed at Hispanics abound. Simply doing an internet search for “scholarships for Hispanic girls” resulted in 96,500 hits. Many schools offer their own scholarships for individuals of Latin American descent. In addition to this, numerous private organizations also offer scholarships. You can find scholarships for Hispanic journalists, future business majors, engineers, creative writers, graphic designers, community activists, Salvadoreñas, Mexicanas and many other specific groups. You’ll have better luck if you start scholarship hunting early in high school.

Searching for opportunities can be daunting. You can start by searching the internet or visiting your local book store or library. Check out these online resources:, and A good publication to read is the Directory of Financial Aids for Women. In addition, many organization’s websites have scholarships listed, like:

What’s great about all these opportunities? Well, you can apply for and receive several different scholarships. Remember to be mindful of the application deadlines and requirements and start looking!