Dreams On Pointe

© BE Studio Inc 2013For many girls, attending dance is a great way to have fun or to participate in an exciting form of exercise. For others, it is the passion that pushes them to the edge of exhaustion and then some, in order to be the graceful figure on stage. Becoming a professional dancer is something that has most likely crossed the minds of many young girls, but those who wish to pursue it as a serious career will find that it takes far more than attending the occasional class.

What many dancers do not realize is that reaching the professional level takes more than joining the dance team at school.  It takes sacrifice and a large amount of one’s time and dedication to the dance studio. The life of a dancer who wishes to pursue the role of a professional revolves around being healthy and maintaining stamina- all while pushing yourself to be better and stronger everyday. This pursuit is no different than becoming a professional athlete and requires the same amount of serious dedication.

Making it in this Industry

Careers in dance are not for the faint of heart, nor those who cannot stand a bit of strong-willed perseverance. From the perspective of a dance student who now teaches at the studio she established after working with a pre-professional company, Jessica Zamarripa, a native of Laredo, Texas and founder and creative director of Laredo School of Contemporary Dance says, “I have had a lot of students come and go… [because] dance requires a lot of time. It requires a lot of sacrifice… even now as a dance teacher, I have to sacrifice my personal life. But I have no regrets, it’s all going to be worth it.”  After dancing with pre-professional contemporary dance company Ballet East of Austin, Texas, Zamarripa established Laredo School of Contemporary Dance to fill the need for a pre-professional dance industry in Laredo

Jessica

On her thoughts about what it takes to make it in the industry: “You need to have the heart to be in this field. It does not matter if you have the natural ability alone, the other part is your willingness to work through the monotony of countless rehearsals and repetitions.”

Careers in dance start and end in youth. The earlier you train, the better the chance of improvement and the more things you retain over time. Once you figure out dance is the career for you, the hours spent at the dance studio become something to look forward to, no matter the price- and this price will be your hard work and dedication. According to Zamarripa, those who seek immediate results “belong in the audience, watching dance.”

Career Spotlight: Reporter

Name: Denise Olivasdenise-olivas-image-jpg

Position & Title: Reporter/Anchor

Employer: KVIA

Location: El Paso, TX

What are some of your job responsibilities?
I am a reporter for Good Morning El Paso and co-anchor for ABC-7 at Noon. Some of my responsibilities include gathering stories, conducting interviews, and writing and editing stories for newscasts.

Describe your educational background and how it helped you prepare for your career.
I graduated from Riverside High School in 2004. Immediately following I continued my education at the University of Texas at El Paso. I graduated in 2009 with a degree in Communication – Electronic Media. The classes I took in college taught me how important writing is in a journalism career. It is a very different style of writing that takes a lot of practice.

How did you find your current job?
I started at KVIA in 2009 as an intern. Several weeks after my internship ended, I was called back and offered a job opening as a producer/writer.

What did you do to prepare for a career in the media?
I made sure to finish my college education. My internship at KVIA also gave me a front row experience of television news and all the work it takes to put a newscast together.

What is your favorite part of your job?
I really enjoy meeting the people of El Paso and the stories they have to share. I like telling their stories and appreciate that they allow me to do so. I also enjoy covering breaking news.

What is the most challenging part of your job?
Breaking news and deadlines are the most challenging. It always keeps me on my toes. As a reporter, I always have to be ready in the event something major happens.

What advice would you give to help a girl prepare for a job like yours?
Education is key!

What do you do for fun when you are not working?
I really enjoy working out when I’m not at work. It really helps relieve stress and keeps me strong and healthy.

Becoming a Media Superstar

María Elena Salinas, an inspiring role model for Latinas, has had an amazing career at the Spanish-language news station. María is a journalist from Los Angeles who has grown and developed throughout her career at Univision.

Being born and raised in California to two Mexican immigrants gives her the on-the-ground knowledge of several aspects of the Latina experience. Her hard work that has turned into successful reporting and shines light on the strength and resilience that every Latina embodies.

According to her page on Univision News’s Tumblr, Salinas “has interviewed every U.S. President since Jimmy Carter and has been face to face with dozens of Latin American heads of state, rebel leaders, and dictators.”

For entertainment, for relaxation, or for information, television channels are ready to connect with their audience. Latinos, in particular, are eager to immerse themselves into the discussion about current events.

Univision covers the news that Latinos in the United States want to know more about, and their ratings are constantly improving and breaking records.

As TV By the Numbers reports, “the Spanish-language network was the No. 1 broadcast network among Adults 18-49 on 38 nights in 2012.” Not only is Univision an option for those who would like to watch the news in Spanish, it is also grabbing the attention of coveted young viewers to watch and work behind the scenes.

Hard-hitting and professional reporting by the Univision team allows Latinos and other viewers to know that our community has a pulse–and a powerful one at that. If you are interested in pursuing a career in journalism or following in the footsteps of María, you can start immersing yourself in journalism by becoming an intern at a news station, taking back-stage tours of media stations, or even asking about shadowing opportunities.

Immerse Yourself

There are opportunities you can take a hold of to experience what goes on at their news stations. Victoria A. Perez interned at Univision’s station in El Paso, Texas. She carried out diverse tasks from answering phone calls to working with the cameras and news anchors. Her most rewarding moments included writing stories that were then broadcast on the weekend news programs.

To find out more about what internship opportunities are available, contact your local media stations or visit your school’s campus and see if they work out internship positions with students and your local Univision station.

Career Spotlight: Principal

Elizabeth Maldonado uses her experiences as a student as well as an educator in her efforts to better how children are taught in her community. Having grown up in a neighborhood that lacked resources, Elizabeth Maldonado developed a passion for teaching in low income areas, where students are often overlooked and slip through the cracks of the educational system. Elizabeth Maldonado places every effort into her work. Her efforts are inspired by the need to ensure that her students and children will grow up into a world that values the right to a fair education for everyone, no matter class, race or gender.

What is your educational background? Describe your college experience and how it helped you prepare for your career.

I had always wanted to be teacher.  For as long as I can remember, teachers have always positively influenced my life.  Thus, after graduating from Jefferson High School, I attended The University of Texas at El Paso with that goal in mind.  I don’t think I was mature enough to take college serious and frankly, it took a long time to complete my bachelors degree.  The inspiration I had to complete my degree was because I was a full time mom to two girls and I wanted to be a good role model.  After completing my degree, I returned three times to the university to earn additional certification (ESL Endorsement); Masters in Education in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students with Special Needs; and then additional certification in Educational Leadership.  I believe I am a lifelong learner and because of this, one must not remain stagnant because every new thing you learn only makes you better in your career.

 How did you find your current job?  

I would say the job finally found me.  Growing up in south central El Paso and actually attending the school where I am now the principal was not an accident, but was intentional.  As a middle school student, I promised I would return to my school and give back to my community.  For the longest time, I forgot this promise.  When I least expected it, the position for principal was open. This was at the right time in my life and when I felt I was truly ready for the challenge. So, I really think people should give back to their community once they have the ability to do so whether it be in volunteerism, resources, or mentoring, one should never forget their roots.

 What did you do to prepare for this career?

I focused on my education first and foremost, but also on my experience as a teacher.  I truly believe that a good teacher makes a good leader.  Also, I work very hard.  I am passionate about what I do and I truly love the position I am in, this is the best preparation ever.

What is your favorite part of your job?

Interacting with the students;  Middle school students are unique.  They are coming to their own at this age and are so interesting.  This is the best part of my job, just interacting with them whether it be at a game, a dance, lunch, or in the classroom, they never fail to surprise me with their antics.

What is the most challenging part of your job?  

The most challenging part of my job is the lack of resources education has in general.  When you work in a school that is unique such as mine, you must be an advocate for the students, teachers, and community.  Monetary resources are scarce and sometimes not equitably dispersed.  I find that I must really fight for the little I get because it is in a lower income area.

What advice would you give to help a girl prepare for a job like yours?

Reflect to really know that this is the type of position you want to enter.  Not only will you meet the challenges of inequity simply because of gender, but also because of race.  Although we have come a long way as Latina women, there are still many barriers to overcome.  Thus, get an education.  With education, a Latina woman can do anything.  Maintain your family relationships.  It is with their support and encouragement that you will succeed.  Learn to persevere.  Our culture is slowly undergoing a paradigm shift. In a marriage, be careful to marry or co-exist with the right partner.  The traditional Hispanic roles of the mother being the one who cooks, cleans and rears children must change if you are to have a successful career.

 What do you do for fun when you aren’t working?

When I am not working, I like to spend time with the family obviously.  But also, one must hone their own interests.  I love going to movies or watching movies and collecting key quotes from movies.  I know it’s a little strange, but I have been doing this for quite a while.  I also love spending time in the outdoors camping.  Although my idea of camping is sleeping in an RV.  I love to read.  I LOVE music and collecting music.

 

Career Spotlight: Medical Professional

From la pisca, manual labor to a successful PhD in Nurse Practice, Beatriz Bautista is an exemplary role model, not just for Latinas, but to all women.

Can you tell us more about your background?

I’m from Edinburg, TX but spent most of my childhood in Idaho. My grandparents came to this country thanks to the Bracero Movement, and I grew up with them picking seasonal crops, such as onions, apples and cherries.

What was your childhood like?

(smiles while reminiscing) I remember at 16 years old, besides going to school, I was driving those big trucks that have all of the apples and crops.

Having no background in the medical field, what made you choose this career?

Yes, I am a first generation student and I had no idea what I wanted to be. I wanted to help sick people. I was hungry for knowledge. I came to understand and told myself if you want something you have to work for it.

When I graduated high school, my grades weren’t the best, but then I enrolled in University and learned that if you work hard for your grades, school becomes easier and easier. I first enrolled in a Gen Ed, program because I was undecided, then I knew what my vocation was.
Who is your personal role model?
My tia, she is a LVN, licensed vocational nurse, and worked as a public health nurse. She also did medical translations; she was one of the few Latinas in the medical field in Idaho that spoke Spanish. I appreciated how solicited she was, being bilingual made her worth for 2.

Has being latina and a woman ever been an obstacle for you?

For me being a latina is something you wear proud, you have the gift of diversity. Knowing two languages makes you worth for 2. Latinas are known for loyalty and their charisma, as well as nurturing and sensitive individuals, once you know how to appreciate your culture it should make you fearless and stoppable.

Do you have any advice for young girls who are interested in the medical field?

Work on your GPA, if you have good grades a lot of doors will open, not to mention the endless opportunities that are available; scholarships, work-study. If you struggle with science, biology and math, my suggestion is to get tom know your teacher better. They are there to help you, especially if you show an interest or curiosity for the medical field.

There are also programs that offer help and guidance in the field, such as HOSA and Med-Ed, you can also volunteer at a hospital.
Hispanic parents, especially if you are a first generation student like myself, may not value education as much and want their kids to be working right away. I tell you, YOU CAN DO BOTH! Through out my education I was always working, I paid for my studies; there was a point in my life where I was 3 professions: a nurse, a student and a mother. Don’t loose focus, and you will find success. A lot of Latinas come from households where the parents do not understand how important an education is.

Do you have a personal story or anecdote that you would like to share with our readers?

When I was accepted in University, I was afraid. I felt a lot of responsibility, being the first person in my family to go to University. My grandfather has always believed in me, which also made me nervous and afraid to fail and let him down. But at the same time it made me stronger and fearless. I needed to prove myself that I could do it. After I got my first A in college, everything else seemed to make sense and I started getting more and more As. I think it helped that I was always hungry for knowledge; I was passionate about what I was doing.

You have been awarded Nurse Practitioner of the Year and now hold a PhD, what is next?

I want to get my Menopause Certification, NCMP, specialize in this hormonal change that a lot of Latinas and just women in general do not understand. I want to be there for them during these hard times, and help them understand what they are going through and get through it better.

 

Dr.Bettyis available for mentoring and to answer any questions you may have on the field.

 

Please contact the author to get in touch with Dr.Bautista.

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.

Career Spotlight: Financial Planner

Cynthia Escalante uses her financial savvy as a financial planner to help people with their finances from saving money to opening their own businesses. She is the first in her family to go to college and get a degree. She is a go-getter who is dedicated to accomplishing every goal she sets for herself.  Today, she has five wonderful kids, a husband and she runs her very own business.

Name: Cynthia Escalante

Position & Title: Regional VIP/Business Owner

Employer: Escalante & Associates Primerica Financial Services

City/State: El Paso, TX

What are some of your job responsibilities?
I help people with their finances. I help them save money, get out of debt, make financial plans and start their own business.

How did you find your current job?
I wanted to take my career to the next level.

What did you do to prepare for this career?
Learned to talk effectively with people through public speaking and networking.

What is your favorite part of your job?
Helping people manage finances.

What is the most challenging part of your job?
I have no boss, so that requires staying self-motivated.

What advice would you give to help a girl prepare for a job like yours?
Learn to take advantage of opportunities, learn to fail-forward and learn from your mistakes.

What do you do for fun when you aren’t working?
I’m a mom of five and enjoy running marathons.

What advice to share with Latinitas?
“No is just another word, be a go getter and get it yourself.”

Career Spotlight: News Reporter

Kandolite Flores is a broadcast journalist in El Paso Texas.  She gets information and stories from the community and delivers them in the news hour. She also reports on the traffic every morning to make sure people get to work and school on time. She is a positive role model in the community and loves working with people. She is very energetic and is always full of smiles. She is also a person that has worked very hard to be where she is today and will always be loved by the community.

Name: Kandolite Flores
Age: 24
Position & Title: Reporter KFOX
Major: Communications Studies
Minor: Women’s studies

Why would you recommend your career?
If you like meeting people and are passionate about people and you like telling stories, then this is the job for you

What are some of your job responsibilities?
I do the traffic [report] in the mornings every ten minutes. From 5 till 8am, I make sure roadways are safe and people are on time. Afterwards, I’m a reporter on the field. I have to find a story or it finds me. Then it goes on the 6 and 9pm [news]. I’m constantly researching.

How did you find your current job?
I had thought about being a reporter with an emphasis in marketing. After I graduated [college], I landed an internship in KFOX. I built a passion for it. After being so vigilant and dedicated, I jumped on a part time position in traffic. My advice is to not take any organization for granted because you never know when you can help them or they can help you in the future. I did Podcasts on UTEP athletics in college. John Teicher; The Voice of the Miners really helped me a lot. While interning, I made sure to shadow everyone, and I stayed fresh in their mind when the position opened up. They said, “let’s give her a chance for 6 months.” After that, they gave me a contract. I love what I do every day and you really have to do it for the passion not the money.

What did you do to prepare for this career?
Internships and networking. I took advantage of professors and they became mentors to me. Also, doing the Podcasts gave me the training on camera. I spoke very fast on camera, but I’ve learned to slow down. I am fortunate to work with a lot of talented people behind the scenes, colleagues on air and our photographers but my everyday mentor is Brad Montgomery. He’s a weather forecaster and has been in the business for a while. He’s very humble, confident and passionate about weather. We are a team and he has really been like my teammate, pumping me with confidence. He gives me constructive criticism, which is not easy to do. For the most part we all work as a team but it’s a very competitive business and at the end of the day you have to worry about yourself.

What is your favorite part of your job?
Sharing inspiring stories. Like a recent story about 3 women who were in an accident on the freeway. A passerby stopped and put his life at risk and saved one of the three girls. It was a miracle and a selfless act brought to me through Facebook. I can only do hard stories not stories like on events or easy things. Sometimes news will find you, but it is your job to be investigative and to bring stories and justice to the community. When things aren’t going right, we have that power to bring justice. Knock on doors and make sure those questions are answered.

What do you think is your proudest accomplishment?
I didn’t cover the story but I brought it into the newsroom and I’m glad I did because it went national. An American flag fell in the rain in front of a local business and a homeless man folded the flag in the rain. A close friend who works there saw it on the security cameras later and told me about it. I thought it would be a good story and so I told our assignments desk about it. Daniel Novick was the reporter who covered the story and found the homeless man, his name was Gustus Bozarth.The story went national and people donated money and even made a Facebook for him- Gustus Bozarth for President. It was great to see the patriotic spirit it raised and how it changed his life.

What do you do for fun when you aren’t working?
One of my hobbies is running. I also watch other news. I call it my “Morning Glory” disease.

Tell me something about journalism that people would be surprised to find out?
Journalists aren’t as serious as they appear to be. In the newscast, we each have personalities and we’re human. People think we don’t have feelings, but we do cry and have emotions on some of the stories we cover. I’ve cried in our live van a million times. It’s not easy, we are compassionate about what we do and the people that we interview. Journalism is intriguing and fun but it can also hurt- it’s an emotional job. Even though we have to keep composure we do have compassion and of course a sense of humor.

What advice do you have for girls?
Be you, be fierce, be compassionate and be optimistic. Don’t take no for an answer or be afraid of conflict. Don’t try to blend in, be you, be unique. Always make sure to stick to your morals and be relentlessly optimistic.

What are your future goals?
I’m interested in writing a book about my first year in the field- “the rookie in the newsroom.” As for the news biz I want to go as far as I can. Who know’s maybe one day I can say “good morning america”

Career Spotlight: Angela Sustaita, Klothes Lime Boutique Owner

Angela Sustaita is the owner of Klothes Lime Buy-Sell-Trade in El Paso, Texas. The resale boutique sells fashionable secondhand clothing for women and men. The concept is used to encourage people to reduce, reuse and recycle. Customers can bring in their items that are just hanging in their closet and trade them for a stylish outfit or buy a resale item. With a commitment to helping the community, the boutique sells accessories created by local artists and hosts charity days sharing proceeds with area nonprofits.

What are some of your job responsibilities?
As the owner of Klothes Lime, my responsibilities range from managing the finances of the business to ensuring the restrooms are clean. Klothes Lime is less than a year old and currently has no employees. However, I have been blessed with family and friends who have pitched in their time to assist with duties at the store. As the owner I am responsible for the following: marketing, accounting, appearance of the store, inventory and merchandising and forming partnerships throughout the community.

How did you get started in your career?
I earned a Bachelors in Finance and an Masters in Business Administration from UTEP. I was blessed to begin a career in the nonprofit community. This is when I realized that the primary need for most nonprofits is support, whether it be monetary or support from their community. I decided that I could open a business, work for myself and continue to contribute to the nonprofit community. I knew I wanted to own a business, but the question was what? One day I was shopping a thrift store and I remembered the joy that I got from shopping at Buffalo Exchange in Las Vegas. This is where I found an opportunity, since we did not have a place to trade clothing in my hometown. Aside from the love of shopping for cool things at a low cost, it would promote reducing, reusing and recycling. I want Klothes Lime to be more than just a thrift store to people. I want them to consider our location as a shared closet amongst friends. I am selective of the items that come in, and I plan to keep prices low. My ideal customer is someone who wants to look good but is also financially responsible.

What did you do to prepare for this career?
The first step was to draft a business plan, which is the road map when opening a business. To compile the business plan, I had to research every aspect of the business. From location, beginning inventory, fixtures and equipment, name, logo, financial projections and competition. Once the business plan was complete I was able to apply of a business loan. After that it was a little hard work and a lot of support from people around me.

What is your favorite part of your career?
My absolute favorite thing about the store is when people are shopping and I hear them tell their friends how cute something is and how cheap it is too! I love meeting new people everyday and the relationships that are formed with the customers.

What is the most challenging part of your career?
Money. It is difficult when there are so many things you would like to do, but you are restrained by the lack of funds. Everything takes time to flourish and patience is key.

What advice would you give to help a girl prepare for a career in the culinary world?
Take care of yourself before anyone. Save your money, take care of your credit and invest wisely. Your possibilities are endless. Do well in school and take advantage of programs that are offered to you and apply for scholarships. These are all things that I neglected to do and am paying for now.

What do you do for fun when you are not working?
Spending time with my 3-year-old son. I take Eli to the library and museums on my days off. I enjoy yoga, hiking and great food. I love watching movies and relaxing.

What websites do you recommend?
NPR.org because it is informative and unbiased. It helps me to stay informed in world news as well as great music and book finds.

April 2011

Career Spotlight: Writer Jennifer Cervantes

Do you dream of writing for a living? Get inspired by Jennifer Cervantes, who does just that as a middle school fiction author and college instructor.
 
Cervantes has been writing since 2006 and released her first novel, Tortilla Sun, in 2010. The novel has kept her busy and on the road, speaking at various events, conferences and schools. She is currently working on her next novel.
 
When writing, Cervantes said she likes to keep in touch with her roots.
 
“The Hispanic culture is imbued with a rich texture, deep rooted traditions and beliefs, and a magical element that influences my work,” she said.
 
Tortilla Sun was the Association of Booksellers for Children’s “New Voices Pick” and a Cybil Award nominee.
 
“It’s a cuento about magic, love and hidden treasure,” says Cervantes on her website.
 
The novel was also what brought her to the 2010 Texas Book Festival in Austin, where she was one of the featured authors.
 
Cervantes, born and raised in San Diego, Calif., also teaches children’s and young adult literature and business writing at New Mexico State University.
 
Latinitas caught up with Cervantes to talk about her career in teaching, her decision to become an author, and what she enjoys doing when not working.
 
Q: How did you get your current job?
A: When a faculty position became available, I submitted a curriculum vitae, interviewed, and was hired. I had also spent time cultivating strong relationships in my department, as well as keeping current in my field.
 
Q: What did you do to prepare for this job?
A: I obtained a master’s degree in rhetoric and professional communication.
 
Q: What is your favorite part about your job? 
A: I love my students and interacting with them.
 
Q: What is the most challenging aspect?
A: I’d prefer not to give grades; it’s never fun!
 
Q: What advice would you give to help a girl prepare for a job like yours?
A: Do well in school and, most of all, stay positive and be curious about the world around you.
 
Q: Was there a particular person or point in your life that influenced your decision to be an author?
A: My youngest daughter Juliana asked me to write her a story one day. I realized how much I enjoyed the writing process, so I wrote Tortilla Sun, joined a critique group, and found an agent. I had no idea what I was doing at first, but I worked hard and kept a positive attitude.
 
Q: What do you do for fun when you aren’t working?
A: I have three amazing daughters that I love to hang out with. We have a fabulous time together, whether it’s skiing, going to the movies, talking, or traveling to fun places.
 
For more information about Cervantes and her novel, visit www.jennifercervantes.com.

By Stephanie Meza

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