Spotlight: 5 Latina Athletes

sports

Have you heard of these leading Latina athletes? Check them out:

Diana Taurasi
Outstanding basketball player, and  two-time winner of the Big East Player of the Year award. Since her childhood, Taurasi has shown immense talent by winning several awards and tournaments. Now, she is a three-times WNBA champion, six times All-Star champion.

Amy Rodriguez
Rodriguez, a Cuban Futbol soccer player and winner of 3 gold medals and a silver medal, is known for her speed; she is a force to be recognized. Rodriguez has attended the Olympics and FIFA Women Cups, and even had to miss a couple of games during her senior year of college to attend the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Idalys Ortiz
A Cuban judoka, a practitioner of judo, and winner of 16 gold medals and 4 bronze medals, Ortiz has participated in the Olympic Games, World Championship, Panamerican Games and Panamerican Championship. In the 2008 Olympics, she earned the recognition of being the youngest Olympic medalist — at the age of 18! She is a highly accomplished judo athlete, and is one to truly admire if you are into martial arts.

Mariana Pajon
Pajon is a Colombian Olympian gold medalist and highly successful cyclist. She earned her first national title at the age of 5 and first world title at the age of 9.  Better known as La Reina del BMX, Pajon has been riding since the age of three, which has led to gaining several titles, 14 world titles to be exact, and other awards throughout her career. From being called La Reina to La Hormiga Atomica, and/or La reina and Marianita, she is a master at BMX riding.

Monica Puig

Winner of  the Premio Juventud-Nueva Promesa deal Deporte Award, Puig  is a highly accomplished Puerto Rican tennis player. In 2016, she reached her best singles ranking of world number, 36. She has won the WTA Tour Championship, International, Panamerican Championships and has participated in the Centroamerican Caribbean Games. In 2010, she became the Puerto Rican athlete of the year.

Career Spotlight: History Professor

Me_Exec_Summ_smallerIrma Victoria Montelongo received her Ph.D. in Borderlands History from the University of Texas at El Paso.  Her fields of study include Gender and Sexuality, Latin American History, U.S. History with a sub-field in Immigration Studies, and Borderlands History with a sub-field in Race and Ethnic Studies.  Her research and teaching interests focus on race, class, gender, sexuality, and criminology on the U.S.-Mexico border. Dr. Montelongo became a fellow at the Center for Collaborative Online International Learning at the State University of New York Global Center.


Q: What are your job responsibilities?

A: I am responsible for teaching three classes this semester. Also, I am the program coordinator of the online classes that UTEP offers, I coordinate professors by signing them which class are they going to be giving online and also help to train faculty. Everything that has to do with online class I am in charge of that.

Q: What are the courses that you teach?
A: I am teaching Chicano Studies, which is Social Issues, La Chicana and deals with Mexican american women and also Colonias in the United States. I teach a lot of different courses and I enjoy to see my students attending to class.

Q: What is your educational training?

A: I have a Bachelors, Masters and a PH.D in History. Also, I have sub fields in Immigration Studies, Race and Ethnicity.

Q: How did you find your current job?

A: I found my current job by applying at the university. Thank God they gave me the opportunity to impart this course. I love to teach and see that my classes are interesting to them and, because El Paso has a lot of history with latinos, I think it is important for students to know about their ancestors and background.

Q: How did you prepare for this career?

A: I came to college late.  After high school, I started working and I got into college really late. But when I started to study again I enjoyed so much my bachelors that  decided to go for my masters and as well with my PH.D. Once you get started it is like non-stop.

Q: What is your favorite part of the job?

A: My favorite part are working with my students. I like to hear the good ideas they share to the rest of the class and the way they think about certain issues.

Q: What is the most challenging part of the job?

A: Being able to balance all the responsibilities. We have to teach, write, publish and we have to find out ways we can manage our time. It is sometimes difficult to find the time to be grading essays and exams, preparing for class, etc. Balancing the time to do everything that is required can be difficult.

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

A: I am involved in different activities within the community. One of them is the TASK Academy, which is for teenagers that have problems in their homes. We try to help the students, especially since most have problems outside of school.

 

Latina Beat: Speaking Kriol

Butterfly logoA brief explanation of my culture background: My Spanish-speaking paternal grandparents are originally from Mexico. My maternal grandmother, also originally from Mexico, spoke Yucatec Mayan and Spanish. My maternal grandfather was born in China and spoke Cantonese. My paternal grandparents gave birth to my father in Belize, and my father and his brothers were raised in Belize by my great-grandmother who was also Mayan, but spoke Spanish to my father and uncles. My mother was raised in Belize as well and grew up speaking English, Spanish, Mayan, Cantonese and Kriol. Kriol is the most popular language in Belize. It’s sort of a broken English dialect spoken with a thick Caribbean accent. My father used to speak Kriol, but he is now only fluent in Spanish and English.

Whew. I hope you got that.

Growing up in a multicultural family, I celebrated a lot of holidays, including traditional American holidays like Thanksgiving and Fourth of July. I celebrate Christmas, Easter, and Good Friday every year because my mother is Catholic. I also celebrate Mexican holidays like Cinco de Maya and Dia De Los Muertos, and I visit Belize every couple of years to celebrate the country’s Independence Day on September 21. And of course, I celebrate Chinese New Years, too!

However, there were some downsides. I was picked on in school for speaking odd. I spoke mostly Kriol at home, but I also spoke English and Spanish, and the languages sort of got mixed up in me. Instead of saying “three” I would say “tree” or instead of saying “thumb” I would say “tum” and I never knew native English speakers can distinguish simple mistakes. It didn’t help that my Asian features are most prominent. And the problem wasn’t just with my friends at school. When I went to Belize, my Belizean family made fun of me for speaking too “American.”  And my Spanish-speaking family always complain about how I cannot roll my r’s properly and that I speak Spanish like a gringa, but my accent was definitely not “white,” it was Caribbean. For a long time, I felt like I wasn’t fluent in any language.

As you can see, it’s a mess.

However, now I’ve learned that the different cultures that are a part of me is what makes me uniquely beautiful. ‘Til this day, Kriol is still the language I’m most comfortable speaking. I do not care what people think about my accent because I know I can speak English, Spanish, and Kriol – just in my own way. And that’s okay.

Get Real: Boosting Self-Esteem

Butterfly logoOur Latinitas club talked about self-esteem issues and wrote about a time they felt they had low confidence. Then they gave advice to each other on these issues and moments.

“I’m always fighting with my siblings. I don’t feel good that my older sister is better in soccer than me. Also, I don’t feel very secure when I don’t pass the tests that we have. Also, on Instagram my sister posted a picture of myself and they said that I looked ugly and fat.”

Advice: You shouldn’t really care what they think about you, what matters is what you think about yourself. You should feel glad for your sister because there might be things you are good at and she is not. Nobody in this world is perfect and  it’s never wrong to feel insecure. You are not fat or ugly.

“I would get bullied because of how short I was so one of these guys would call me “shorty” I know this may not hurt others but it does to me because I have been through a lot in the past so it hurts.”

Advice: You should talk to your sister and papi and Destiny. “Shorty” can hurt a lot. You should talk to them about how you feel.

“When I was little I felt bad about myself because my parents couldn’t afford buying me a certain kind of clothes, so the kids used to bully me. I never told anyone or said anything because that was the only person I could hang out with. So when I would wear that clothes I felt bad for myself like, ‘why can’t I just be like everybody else?’ I just felt bad because I never said anything.”

Advice: My advice to you is to not care about what people say about how you look. You should care what’s inside of you.

 

Actress Spotlight: Aubrey Plaza

Aubrey-Plaza-Life-After-Beth-Interview

Photo Credit: Popsugar.com

Ever since the turn of the century, deadpan has been the most popular comedic device in critically acclaimed movies and television shows. (Deadpan is a comedic strategy in which an actor delivers a joke in the most emotionless way. Also known as dry humor or dry wit.) There is one half-Latina actress that is perfecting the art of deadpan, mostly known for her work as the bad-mannered intern April Ludgate in Parks and Recreation, Aubrey Plaza. She has become one of the internet’s most loved comedians.

This comedian was born on June 26, 1984, in the state of Delaware. Her father is Puerto Rican and her mother is of Irish-English descent. She can speak Spanish and has family living in Puerto Rico. Coming from Delaware/Catholic roots, she has described her experience as the only ethnically diverse student in her class. She even won the “Hispanic Teenager of the Year” award.

After high school, Aubrey Plaza attended the Tisch School of Arts in New York and majored in film and television production. While in college, she took improvisational classes at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, which was ironically founded by her future co-star Amy Poehler. After graduating, Aubrey did a lot internships, including the prestigious NBC page internship. (Later reprising the role for a small cameo in 30 Rock.)

She got her big break by posting funny videos of herself with her friends on the internet. Eventually she was discovered by the director of Freaks and Geeks and Anchorman, Judd Apatow. He cast Aubrey as an up-and-coming stand up comedian in the 2009 dramedy Funny People. From there followed subsequent roles in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and Parks and Recreation.

 

Aubrey Plaza’s part on Parks and Recreation was specially crafted to fit her “weirdness”. In six years and seven seasons, April Ludgate’s role as an uninterested intern dramatically blossomed into one of an ambitious young woman with her witty one-liners, intense observations, and the help of the Parks and Recreation Department from Pawnee, Indiana. Within the early seasons of the show, Aubrey Plaza, got to show off her Spanish-speaking skills. In the “Sister City” episode of Season two, April Ludgate’s explained her reason for knowing Spanish and “being so lively and colorful” was because she is Puerto Rican on her mother’s side. Aubrey Plaza’s role on Parks and Recreation has increased the amount of Latina representation in comedy as it is seen on the FOX show, Brooklyn Nine Nine.

In between seasons of her Parks and Rec, Aubrey Plaza has acted in a couple independent movies. Her most critically acclaimed role being that of the disillusioned intern, Darius Britt, in Safety Not Guaranteed. Other independent movies that she has starred in include Life After Beth, About Alex, and The To Do List.

Aubrey Plaza is loved by the internet. Her attitude and roles have let others to identify with her personality. She has also been known to gracefully embrace her status as “internet royalty” by bringing to life some of the internet’s favorites. For example, she collaborated with College Humor to create a fake live action trailer follow-up to the 1990s animated television show Daria in “Daria: The Movie”. In addition, Plaza was chosen to voice the internet meme’s Grumpy Cat in the 2014 Lifetime movie, “Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas”.

Career Spotlight: Managing Editor

12990925_1070140749698949_3852799889307904658_nName:
Lizette Ruiz

Position & Title:

Managing Editor

Employer:

BorderSenses

City & State

El Paso, TX

Website

http://www.bordersenses.com

What are some of your job responsibilities?

My responsibilities include working with the editorial staff, which is made up of the Fiction Editor, Poetry Editors, and Spanish Editor. I am in charge of submission management, such as reading and evaluating submissions, and ensuring rejections and query responses are sent; copy-editing, proofreading, fact-checking, checking corrections, and preparing manuscripts for layout. I am also responsible for planing and executing a release date for the magazine’s publication. I work closely with the Executive Director and meet with him on a weekly basis to discuss any up coming events and updates.

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

I earned my Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing from The University of Texas at El Paso in December of 2013. Soon after, in the summer of 2014, I decided to pursue my Masters degree and graduated in the Fall of 2015 from Purdue University with a Master of Science in Communication. My degree in Creative Writing really allowed me to hone my writing skills. Writing has always been my passion, and being surrounded by writers who shared my love for writing and literature was amazing! I felt very inspired and empowered. It was one of the most beautiful experiences in my life because I was following my heart and studying what I love. My degree in Communication has allowed me to take my writing skills to another level. It has also allowed me to understand the Public Relations and Marketing aspect of any organization and how to communicate strategically. Since BorderSenses is a non-profit organization, I can apply the skills that I have learned during college and still continue to do what I love.

How did you find your current job?

I came across this position on Indeed, which is a website that lists employment openings.

What did you do to prepare for this career?

I made sure that I really understood the commitment and responsibilities that this position entails. I went over the responsibilities I would be in charge of and set a schedule for myself on when to work on certain things.

What is your favorite part of your job?

I love the fact that I get to work with the writing community and writers here in El Paso and all over the world! We receive submissions from other countries and I always find that very exciting. I also love the fact that by working for BorderSenses, I am supporting local writers and artists. Also,the staff and members of BorderSenses are amazing, talented people and I feel honored by being able to collaborate with them and work with them. Most importantly, my favorite part of the job is being able to read the submissions. I love reading and this position gives me the opportunity to be able and discover new and amazing pieces.

What is the most challenging part of your job?

Declining pieces is the most challenging part for me. I dislike having to say no to a piece.

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

Follow your heart and go to college! Attending college has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. It really helped my find myself and follow my dreams. Graduating from college also allowed me to gain a sense of agency over my life, which I love. In the end, I decided to do what I wanted to do and I am glad that I did.

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

I love to work on my own writing, read and try new things. I also love to travel. Plus, I always enjoy my time off and make the best of it.

Review: Princess Academy

85990Princess Academy by Shannon Hale tells the story of a 14 year old girl named Miri Larendaughter. Miri lives in the village of Mount Eskel with her father Laren and her sister Marda. There, she struggles to fit in and feels isolated, because she has never been allowed to work in the quarry like the rest of the villagers due to an accident that left her motherless.

The only person who actually sees Miri for what she’s worth is Pedar Doterson, her childhood playmate and best friend. Pedar and Miri both share a secret affection for each other but it is not allowed to flourish because one day, a messenger from the king arrives and announces that the prince is to choose a bride from Mount Eskel. A “princess academy,” is created and the girls from the village are taken away for princess training.

At the academy, Miri outshines all the other girls and receives the title of academy princess. She is allowed the first dance with the prince and from that point onward, Miri experiences many changes and is faced with trying to figure out where her heart lies… Does she want a prince, or is she in love with Pedar? Can she leave her family behind? Even scarier, can she be a princess?

Princess Academy is a wonderful coming of age story, and it really calls attention to the themes of community, gender, and education. It’s empowering. It’s thrilling. And more importantly, it breathes hope and life into the hearts of anyone who reads the tale.

Gaby Orendain comments, “I remember really liking the book! To me, Miri was a strong but relatable character who did great things despite her ‘humble’ mountain origins. I liked how she started off as being small and shy, and then grew to be not only one of the best in the academy, but also someone who helped save the day!”

It’s hard to say why Miri Larendaughter is the great protagonist that she is without spoiling the story, but one things for sure: Miri breaks the norm. Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty,etc.  are damsels in distress and they needed a prince to come save them. And sure, Miri may start off as a damsel in distress, but she evolves so much throughout the story. However, in the end, she provides the saving. She saves the prince, she saves the village, and she grows up to be a real woman with strength, power, humility and big big heart.

DIY: Coupon Book & Photography Project

In Costa Rica, Mother’s Day is celebrated on August 15th, also known as the Feast of the Assumption, which, in the Catholic religion, celebrates the rise of the Virgin Mary to heaven. For those in the U.S. and in other Latin American countries, Mother’s Day has passed, but who says you can’t celebrate Mother’s Day more than once? Tell your mamá she’s extra special and deserves to be honored at the same time as Costa Rica!

Coupon Book
Now, I’m not talking about any old store coupon book. I’m talking about a coupon book that you make yourself. This special coupon book will include free favors that your mother would really appreciate. Like washing the dishes, doing the laundry, baby sitting your siblings so your mom can have some alone time, and if you are feeling extra giving, you can even put a free 5 minute foot massage.

Materials

  • You can use flash cards, construction paper, or just normal paper
  • Writing utensils (markers, pens, or even crayons)
  •  Scissors

What to do

For this DIY project, you cut the paper of your choice into rectangles and write something like this:

4

 

Now, if you’re like me, your mother doesn’t speak English, so you can translate with “Dia de la Madre cupon.” You can make as many many coupons as you want, be creative!

 

Photography Project

My mom absolutely loves photographs, and I know that whenever I give her one she always get super excited and happy. What I love doing for my mom is taking a picture months ahead of her birthday or Mothers day, that way when I give her the photo she’ll totally forget about taking that photo and take her by surprise in a beautiful way. Now, this DIY project can be done in a lot of ways, including making a collage of your favorite pictures. Once you have a few photos, go to Wal-Mart, CVS, or Walgreens and print them out. For chicas on a budget, you can also print them out at home. When you’re ready to make a collage, you can make them scrapbook style or something unique like using a clothes hanger:
mom2

To make this DIY project, you will need a clothes hanger, ribbon, hot glue, and a set of pictures. You can use two small ribbons to create like a ladder, or you can use larger ribbons — it’s up to you, chica! Arrange the pictures how you want them on the ribbon, then glue them on, and, when you;re done, tie them to the hanger. Super cute, right?

Career Spotlight: Director of Nemours Children’s Hospital


By Blair Beggan, Director of Communications for The Association of Air Medical ServicesMaria Fernandez, the Director of Nemours Children’s Hospital, has aced both personal and professional challenges to rise to her current position, but she wouldn’t change a thing. Her heritage and her culture only aid in the work she does today, and I was lucky enough to sit down and speak with her.

1) Could you describe what your current position at Nemours Children’s Hospital entails?

Currently, I work as the Director of Critical Care Transport Services. My patients’ ages range from birth to 18 years of age. And although a lot of my current position requires management and oversight, I am still able to practice my clinical skills. I started as a nurse practitioner, and to this day I still go out and do field work when needed. For me, the ability to go out and transport a pediatric patient that requires critical care is the most rewarding part of my job. I like to be there for the families and friends of the patient, as well as the patient themselves. And my job doesn’t end when the patient leaves the hospital. I follow-up with the patients once they go home and keep track of their progress.

2) How are you involved with the Association for Air Medical Services (AAMS)?

I have been involved with AAMS since 1992! During my first nursing job, I worked very closely with the director of my medical transport team. In 1997, I became a member of AAMS and was involved with the organization from Day One. Being able to attend conferences and training seminars helped me to expand my network and grow as a medical transport care provider. I love the wealth of information that AAMS has given me, both for my professional development and for the growth of the organizations I work for.

3) Can you tell us any stories about patients or situations that were especially meaningful to you?

Several years back, I was on a medical transport for a premature baby who had not yet been home due to ongoing medical issues. The concern was that the baby was going to develop blindness because of how premature he was. The patient was very unstable, but needed to be transported to a specialist at another hospital and the decision on whether or not the baby could make the flight came down to me. But I was confident in my team and the people around me. I knew we could safely transport this baby and give him a chance at a great quality of life. The baby was in Puerto Rico and it was a two hour transport to the states. We stayed by the baby’s side the whole time, making sure he was comfortable and stable. He survived the flight, underwent eye surgery and he is now able to see. The family feels like my decision to transport their son is the reason he isn’t blind today, and I still keep in touch with them to this day. This type of story is the reason I do my job – I want to give these children a chance to have the best life possible.

 

Early this year I had another patient experience that really moved me emotionally. A teenage child was found unconscious about two hours away from my hospital. The medical crew on site was not sure what had caused the child to pass out. I arrived on the scene and immediately began to communicate with my team back in Orlando. We used FaceTime to communicate and share thoughts about the condition. We came to the conclusion that the patient may be having an allergic reaction to medicine. We changed the medicine and, amazingly, the child did a complete 180 and survived. It was wonderful to be able to use my knowledge in a situation like this and help save a life. I tell people all the time that I picked the best profession!

 

4) Can you tell us a little about your background and how your heritage has helped you become the woman you are today?

I was born in Cuba, but I left for Mexico at a very young age. Shortly thereafter, when I was two years old, we immigrated to the United States. My mom was a single parent in New York raising two children, and we grew up speaking mostly Spanish in our home. She was definitely an inspiration motivating us to pursue higher education and take advantage of life in the U.S. Being a single mother myself, I appreciate her even more today and understand how hard she worked to give me a wonderful life.

 

I moved to Miami in 1978 because I wanted to go to University of Miami to get nursing degree. I graduated from nursing school in 1983 and went on to get my masters in nursing at Florida International University (FIU). I then received my Masters in Business Administration and Health Services Administration in 2006. And this December, I will be completing my doctorate in nursing!

I think growing up in a Spanish-speaking household gave me a huge advantage in the nursing world, especially in Miami and Orlando. I am at an advantage for working with patients that a have a Hispanic background because I can speak to them in their native language and put them at ease. During times of crisis, people prefer to speak and communicate in their native tongue and it is wonderful to be able to offer than to them. I love being a mentor for other Hispanic women looking to pursue a career in nursing – I tell them it is something they won’t ever regret!

Advice: Dealing with Anxiety, Bullying, and Shyness

Young Latinitas gave some advice on issues that may affect all of us at one time to another. Hispanic girk looking sadWe have all dealt with anxiety, bullying or being shy on certain occasions. We get it; we’ve all been there, and these girls are here to give some advice on some of these issues. Here’s what you can do if you ever find yourself in these situations.

1.HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH ANXIETY?

When I am anxious I try to first calm myself, then I try to distract my mind with something that I like to do. It could be as simple as going to sleep and take a shower or going out with my friends or family.

2.WHAT TIPS DO YOU HAVE TO DEAL WITH BULLYING?

If you experience bullying, do not stay quiet! Words are a powerful tool, and if you stay quiet the bullying is going to continue. Try to talk to the bully first, and if that does not work then talk to a responsible adult like your parents or a teacher.

3.WHAT TIPS DO YOU HAVE TO DEAL WITH BEING SHY?

If you are shy, the first thing you need to do is feel comfortable in your own body and accept your strengths and weaknesses. When you achieve that, then take the risk of getting out of your comfort zone. Many times when we are shy we just stay in our own bubble and stick to the things we know, but if we do not take risks we can never know of the things we are missing out. The third step is to be confident about yourself. Know all the potential that you can bring. Lastly do not be afraid. I know it may not be easy, but overcoming shyness can bring you more benefits.