Getting Involved in Sports

People turn to sports as kids, teens, and young adults for a number of reasons. For many, playing a sport is an extracurricular outlet that allows them to exercise their skills in teamwork and physical activity.

Evelyn currently runs track and cross-country at Americas High School in El Paso, Texas. “People don’t appreciate girls in sports, specifically Latina women…so I think it [is] better to have more diversity,” states Evelyn Gomez , 16.  Although Evelyn makes a very good point by acknowledging that female athletes are not shown the same appreciation as the men in the world of athletics, she also recognizes that girls and women continue to excel in their respective sports, regardless, and achieve their goals.

“I admire the [girls] in my high school that get scholarships for the sports I play.” Seeing that her fellow teammates can accomplish so much is very motivating to Evelyn.

19-year-old college sophomore Zaira Lujan also ran track and cross-country throughout her years at Coronado High School in El Paso, Texas. When she started at the University of Rochester in the Fall of 2014, Zaira had intend to run track again, but plans changed and she did not join the team. Instead, come second semester, Zaira found herself playing a different sport altogether, one she’d never imagined she would play.

“I went to the [rugby] practices and loved the vibe the team had. They were open and accepting…I’m glad that I gave it a chance,” said Zaira.

Having played multiple sports, both Evelyn and Zaira know a thing or two about dedication and teamwork. These are the values that make each team member strong in mind and body. “In my competitions, I didn’t run against other girls, per say, but I ran against  myself. I don’t know about the abilities of the other runners, but I know mine and that’s all I need to concentrate on…” says Zaira, as she reflects on her years as a runner. Zaira believes that through self-motivation as well as encouragement by her coaches and teammates, she has become a better athlete.

Evelyn also acknowledges the positive impact that playing a sport has had on her life: “Participating in a sport provides structure and discipline…It helps you be prompt, ready, [and able to] overcome challenges.” These are qualities that both athletes have been able to apply when they are participating in their respective sports, but they have also positively affected their approaches to academics and other responsibilities.

Not only are women athletes underappreciated, as Evelyn suggests, but Latinas are also noticeably underrepresented in U.S. sports teams. This is not necessarily something that should be a weight on the shoulders of young Latinas, whether they are simply looking for an activity to join or looking to play professionally. However, it is something for the nation as a whole keep in mind. It is difficult for girls to even name a professional U.S. Latina athlete that they can say they admire.

Evelyn and Zaira definitely advise Latinas everywhere to stick with or try out a sport, if they are up for it. They both see the value of playing in a sport from a non-competitive standpoint, as participation can result in new friendships and help one learn about her physical strengths.

What’s Your Study Style?

How do you learn? To be able to answer that question, you must first figure out your way of thinking. There are plenty of ways to gather information, but there are ways that can help you better understand and remember knowledge for school tests.

Eudemic.org provides 7 different styles of learning to help one understand their style of gathering information. Solitary learning is best described as someone who prefers to study independently. If this sounds like you, be sure to study in a quiet, distraction free place. It’s always okay to talk amongst yourself and think out loud to help yourself memorize what you need to know.

The verbal learner is someone who learns faster by hearing. If this sounds like you express your  style with your parents and teacher. They may give the okay to bring a small tape recorder during verbal lessons. This way you can use that recorded info while you study.

Aural learners also learn better while listening, however it’s even better for them when they are hearing it in music form. If you feel that you can pick up on learning lyrics to a song quickly this may be your style! Try thinking of your favorite melody and make it school based. For example,you can use rhyming words to expand your vocabulary or even with counting. If you have a keyboard or something that plays different samples of sounds you can study each lesson listening to each sound at a time. The next day before you study again, play that sound and see if you can remember what you were studying the time before.

The mathematical learner is one who learns best by using charts or formulas to study. If youre a note taker this may be your style!  Understood.org gives ideas on different ways of taking notes. Some examples would include the web; which almost looks like a spider. Grab a piece of paper put your topic in the middle then circle it. Then you create legs, on each leg you write an important fact about that topic. There is also the split page method. Draw a line down the middle of a sheet of paper; use the left for your topic or date, use the right side for definitions, facts, and/or details of when certain events took place. Ideas like these will help keep you organized while you take notes to study.

Reading notes to help you learn can also be compared to the visual learner. A visual learner is someone who learns better with pictures, words, and even colors.  Even if you like to watch someone demonstrate a lesson this may be you! Using flash cards can be helpful with learning. You would write a topic, number, or drawn image on one side of a card and the details on the other side. Color coding while taking notes could also be helpful. Use colorful play dough to recreate part of a map for that geography assignment. You may find that the colors will help you pin point each states location easily.  Think of something you want to memorize, then create a picture. You may find that the next time you see that image you will remember what you had learned before. Visual media is like a “how to” video. You may find that you grasp information better by watching someone show you how it’s done vs writing or speaking about it.

A social learner is someone who wants to interact with others while learning. If you have a tutor or have been part of a study group this may be you! Communication is key for your style and you learn better role playing or even using many techniques in a group setting. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and get involved with what you want to learn. No matter your style, you can always ask your family to help with studying too.

Last but not least is our “hands on” learner. If you like to actually touch or act out what you are trying to learn this may be you! Practice your fractions with slices of pizza for fun. If you’re in class and a teacher asks for a helper, get involved! You may end up surprising yourself and the class at how quickly you can keep up with the task.

We all have different ways of learning. Some may learn in more ways then just one. So before you get ready to study figure out your style. It may save you a lot of extra time and energy. Most importantly it can help improve your confidence and your grades too.

 

Preparing for College

By Sarai Melchor CollegeChica1

As young Latinas, we are advised by not only our elders, but also our community to take advantage of what this country has to offer and to put ‘mucho esfuerzo’ in everything.

As a rising senior, I want to help you chicas who are getting ready to enter college by giving you some tips.

1. Don’t feel pressured to attend a prestigious school
Seriously, folks. You can save thousands of dollars by attending another school where you will get a bigger bang for your buck.

2. For those of you who are moving away…
Do not pay attention to your families if they try to guilt you into staying. Our community loves to stay close to our relatives, but some might accuse you of abandoning them. Of course this isn’t true for anyone, but I have heard many of stories like these. Heck, even my parents tried to dissuade me from the idea of living on campus, but I kept my ground.

3. Don’t rush on choosing a major.
Unless you are more or less certain that you love it, but keep in mind that college courses are WAY different than high school.  Basically, the first two years of college are going to be about completing those basic general requirements. While doing so, register for classes that catch your interest from different departments, so that you’ll hopefully find a major that fits you.

4. Do not choose a career path that your parents want.
They might say “this job is worthwhile” and pays great or “mejor seas una abogada” (better become a lawyer). Defend yourself and say that they are not the ones studying. It is your career path and your future. You are going to get that degree with bountiful knowledge.

5. Rent your books or buy them used.
If you get your syllabus a couple of weeks before the semester starts, buy your textbooks cheap by researching the best places to order.

6. Stay on top of your coursework!
College coursework can be more challenging. This is usually the biggest shock for freshmen. Make sure that you keep a planner, either paper or an app. This will help you avoid that feeling of ‘Oh, I have a quiz tomorrow!’ I know I have.

7. Take Risks.
College is YOUR time to shine and try new things. Join clubs. Go to that karaoke event. Introduce yourself to fellow students. Have an open mind.

8. You don’t have to stay in college if you feel that it’s not right for you.
If you come to this conclusion and feel afraid to leave because of negative feedback, forget about everyone else. This is your life. You have every right to choose a better path for yourself. Do you.

Take care, queridas!

Frida by Design

Latina designer Adriana Pavon has worked in the fashion industry for years, and was responsible for overseeing the design and manufacturing processes of many popular clothing brands. However, two years ago, Pavon realized that the industry she was working for was doing more harm than good. Many mass production clothing factories that are located in third world countries have been known to provide unsafe work spaces for employees and pollute the air and water in the surrounding regions. Pavon decided she did not want to contribute to this industry anymore, and she went on to create a fashion line that supports fair trade between countries.

“My goal was to create contemporary collections in collaboration with indigenous people of my native Mexico,” states Pavon. She realized that there is a more fulfilling approach to the way we look at fashion and clothing production, as an art and a representation of culture. Pavon has also found that European and American mainstream fashion industries have been know to mimic the styles of many indigenous groups from around the world, including those in Mexico, and create inauthentic designs based on the originals. These are the reasons why Pavon decided to name her new collection Mexico: Cultura y Orgullo, or in English, Mexico: Culture and Pride. She has been working with the indigenous people of Oaxaca, Mexico, who artfully hand-make all of the collection’s products.

“Frida on White Bench,” photograph by Nickolas Muray, 1939. Submitted image“I was inspired by Frida Kahlo…her colorful wardrobe, the designs, the richness within her personality and within her life,” says Pavon. She did research on Frida Kahlo’s wardrobe and the way her clothes were made so that she and her team could come up with designs that represented Frida’s style. Pavon and her team at Mexico: Cultura y Orgullo also decided to launch a collaborative exhibit called “Through Frida’s Eyes.”  Pavon explains that the exhibit will travel around the U.S. and that the experience will be like visitors are virtually traveling through Oaxaca, getting a close-up look at what life is like in this community. Money to pay for the exhibit’s tour is currently being fundraised through an organization called Kickstarter. Pavon is hoping that people will be inspired by the finely crafted works of the indigenous people of Oaxaca and motivated by the use of ethical labor and production (rephrase?) so that they will want to contribute.

It must not have been easy for Adriana Pavon to leave the industry she had been dedicated to for 20 years, but she took the chance anyway is clearly glad that she did. “I wanted to make a positive impact on people’s lives,” expresses Pavon. Looking at the way Mexico: Cultura y Orgullo is making efforts to preserve and respect the culture of an indigenous group as well as the environment, it seems like Pavon and her team are definitely making a positive difference in the world.

From High School to College

Photo from collegelifestyles.org.

Photo from collegelifestyles.org.

Every year students across the nation complete their high school career and prepare to enter into their chosen colleges. College is a symbol of independence, adventure, and individual growth, a stepping stone towards becoming responsible, mature young adults. Whether the college is located in the same hometown or 300 miles away, a transition from high school to college is something that every incoming freshman must face head-on. This transition can come easily for some, while for others it might take a while to adjust. So what exactly is the transition?

For some this might mean adjusting to a new environment, making new friends, developing stronger studying skills, being home away from family, or dealing with culture shock (or a combination of several factors). Since every incoming freshmen will experience college differently due to a variety of different reasons, it is difficult to give a general summary of what college will be like for a student.

Karen Corral, who just finished her first year of college at St. Edward’s University in Texas, reflects back on how her expectations of college changed over the course of the year. “My expectations of college before entering was that it [was] extremely fun as my friends and social media made it seem…[but college] is never what you think it is and you should not go in there with a closed mindset,” explains Corral.

Diving deeper into her own college experience, Corral acknowledges that she had a culture shock even though the university was still within the same state as her hometown. When comparing the two cities, she realized that the “places are complete opposites.” Moving from Austin to El Paso, Texas was the biggest culture shock for Corral.

The culture shock was not the only thing that she experienced at her new college. She had to learn how to manage her time better, become informed about mental health, how to deal with homesickness, and she realized how hard it was to keep up with high school friends. For those that are entering college soon, she advises that “you should not go with an expectation either high or low, but instead with realistic goals, tips, and an open mind to get the best of the college experience.”

Isabella Drogo, who just completed her first year at the University of Rochester , had similar yet different experience to Corral. Drogo recalls thinking that her primary concern was just going to be the academics and nothing else. However, Drogo decided to join the Women’s Rugby team, something that had been her passion since high school. “Joining Rugby was the best thing I did all year since it helped me ease comfortably into college environment, find close friends outside my residential hall, and I got to meet a lot of interesting girls,” laughs Drogo.

With the newfound sense of independence that Drogo felt in the first week of college, she felt ready for the college experience. Although she felt free, she did not forget about her close friends from back home and how “they were always there for [her].” Since Drogo is a native of Buffalo, about an hour away from her university, she was comforted with the knowledge that she was close enough to visit her friends and family.

There is no way to predict what will happen in the following four years to come after high school. Majors might be switched, a class might be too difficult, the pass-fail option might suddenly become reasonable, or an unknown sport to you might perk your interest. Having strict expectations of what a college experience should be like, might prevent one from actually enjoying what the college has to offer. Apart from the academics, college is also about learning how to adapt to new situations, knowing how to navigate with more added responsibilities, effectively manage stress, and learning how to cope with possibly being away from friends and family. College is not just an opportunity to further your education, but it also gears students for the “real world” after graduation. Although the college experience will vary from individual to individual, and there will sometimes be uncertainty of what the future holds, the unexplored possibilities that any college offers should be taken advantage of. What the individual chooses to their experiences to be, that is what will be given.

Creating S.M.A.R.T Goals

Latina Girl Writing - LatinitasFrom school to family and friends, you have goals in every aspect of your life. If you want to reach your goals, it isn’t enough to just say you want to get better grades. You have to come up with S.M.A.R.T. goals to create a plan to reach your goals.

First,  what is a S.M.A.R.T. goal?

S.M.A.R.T Goals

Specific
First, you need to make sure that you have specific goals. Then, you will start creating a S.M.A.R.T.  goal setting. S.M.A.R.T.  goal setting brings structure and track ability into your goals and objectives. Every goal or objective, from intermediary step to overarching objective, can be made S.M.A.R.T. and as such, brought closer to reality.

Measurable
Measurable goals means that you identify exactly what it is you will see, hear and feel when you reach your goal. It means breaking your goal down into measurable elements by having concrete evidence. Being happier is not evidence because it cannot be measured; however,  not eating junk food anymore because you adhere to a healthy lifestyle,where you eat vegetables twice a day and exercise more frequently, is. 

Attainable
Next, you’ll need to create deadlines. Everybody knows that deadlines are what makes most people switch to action. Keep the timeline realistic and flexible, that way you can keep morale high. Raising against time to complete a goal will not only make the process more stressful, but it can also weaken the learning path of achieving your goals.

Realistic

Be realistic with yourself, but don’t beat yourself up if it takes you longer to accomplish a goal. Remember that what you focus on, like viewing something in a negative or positive light, will affect your goals.

Timely
Don’t be scared to re-organize or change your goals. Sometimes the ideal opportunity to accomplish a goal will come at a later date/time — it’s not a bad thing! Keeping track of your goals as you accomplish them is a great self-esteem booster. Girl, you better be writing those goals in a place where is easy to remember. Make a check mark to every goal in your list that you have already accomplished. It will make you feel better to know that you are almost done. Don’t forget to smile! It is rewarding to know that you finish something from your list.

Finding Comfort in Family

Hispanic girk looking sad

Living with a sibling who has a mental illness can be hard, there’s no doubt about it. And that goes for any mental illness – whether it be depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, and so on. For one, it’s almost always hard to understand what they’re going through and, naturally, you want to help but might not exactly know how to. There also might be the problem of being a little jealous of the attention your brother/sister has been getting. It’s okay, you can admit it. We all go through it, and there’s no reason you shouldn’t.

A lot of mental illnesses come from a person’s DNA and all of the science stuff that makes them a person. Some are genetic, which means that someone in your family might have it and it was inherited by your sibling. Some are just chemical imbalances in the brain. Whatever the reason, scientific or not, no one chooses to be mentally ill, and that’s important to remember.

Mental illnesses affect 30 percent of young girls and teens in the United States, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). And 7.4 percent of the world have a mental illness. The most common mental illness is Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), and some symptoms of that are: constantly being worried about things, not being able to relax, difficulty concentrating, muscle aches, sweating and nausea.

These are not all of the symptoms listed by the NIMH, and someone may not have all of the symptoms of GAD, but if they have a handful of them, it would be best to check on them and possibly take them to see a doctor.

GAD can also lead to having depression, the two tend to go hand in hand in some cases. As far as depression is concerned, about 13 percent of girls between the ages of 12 and 17 have major depression. Although there are different kinds of depression, some of the symptoms of the most basic kind of depression are: being sad for long periods of time, feeling guilty for many things, loss of interest in hobbies, getting tired often or easily, trouble sleeping or constantly waking up, change in weight and irritability.

It is important to remember that not everyone with the symptoms of a mental illness will have a mental illness, but if a sibling seems to have several of the symptoms, it would be wise to get them help or to talk to them. That goes for any mental illness. Keep an eye on them to see how they act over a period of time so you can see if they fit the list of symptoms you have looked up. And there are many other mental illnesses that are not the most common in the world that your sibling could possibly have as well. Mental illnesses are not just confined to General Anxiety Disorder and Depression.

It’s also important to remember that living with a sibling who has a mental illness can be life changing for the both of you. Things in the household can change completely and that’ll have an effect on you.

Everyone reacts to things differently, but Andrea Lugo, 19, was very certain in how she’d feel if her older sister, Yazmin, had a mental illness. “I believe it would be a lot more stress put on me with everything I have going on,” she said. “But she’s my big sister and whatever I could do to help get her through what she’s going through, I’ll put everything aside to be that little sister to do whatever needs to be done for her.”

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the best way to deal with a sibling who has a mental illness is to learn what their mental illness is and get a better understanding of it. That’ll definitely make it seem less scary to you because you’ll actually know what’s going on. You can ask a family member to explain it to you and if you’re both still pretty confused about it, using the internet can be a huge help too.

Yazmin Lugo, 21, said she’s not completely sure how she’d handle her younger sister having a mental illness. “As her big sister, I would definitely try to talk to her and then to figure what the root of the problem is.” She also said that if she needed assistance with getting her sister help, she would make sure to go to her mother.

Once you know what the mental illness is, don’t try and fix everything on your own. Mental illnesses cannot be cured, but they can be treated. So if you’re sibling is already getting help, that’s great! Now make sure you take care of yourself as well. While it is totally understandable to want to help out your brother or sister, you have to make sure you’re doing okay too. Sometimes being a little selfish can be a good thing when it comes to your own health and emotional stability.

According to Psychology Today, there are a few self-care tips that several psychologists follow and you can follow too:

  1. Pets! If playing with a pet is something you love to do, and just being around a pet tends to make you happy, doing this whenever you aren’t feeling well emotionally can actually help you feel better and it gives you a reason to play with your animal.
  2. Love: this may not be for everyone, but if you’re a huge hugger, asking friends or family for a hug can easily help you out. It’s a great reminder that these people are there for you can help you out, even if you don’t want to talk about what’s wrong at the moment. Hugs can make you happier.
  3. Laughter is huge for self-care. Whether it’s a funny joke or a funny picture or just a funny face, if it makes you laugh, take advantage of it! Laughter = smiling = happiness, and it just naturally makes a person feel good.
  4. Breathing exercises are good for calming yourself down. If you’re feeling stressed out, just take a moment — a minute or two, if you have the time — and focus on your breathing. This can also help you get to sleep, if you’re having trouble with that. Breathe in through your nose for four seconds, hold the breath for seven seconds, breathe out through your mouth for eight seconds. If these amounts of time don’t work for you, don’t worry. Adjust it to whatever you feel comfortable with.
  5. Yoga/Stretching/Exercise: If Yoga isn’t something that interests you, stretching and exercise can be great for self-care too. It helps you release chemicals from your brain that are scientifically proven to put you in a better mood. Plus, it can just be fun. Yoga is good for meditating and focusing on your body, rather than the things going on around you. This too can be really great for relaxing and caring for yourself.

Lastly, remember you’re not alone in all of this. Find comfort in your own family – parents, brothers and sisters without a mental illness, cousins – if they know about the mental illness. You’re all in this together. If not, you can always try talking to your friends or school counselor about the situation as well. Talking about it can always help.

Super Food Diet from Peru

Here’s to saying goodbye to unhealthy diets, and hello to the Peruvian Super Foods diet.

According to the Boston Medical Center, about 45 million Americans of all ages diet each year. Dieting should only be done when completely necessary – generally when there is a medical issue that is forcing the diet. Dieting when not necessary can be dangerous for anyone, especially teens whose bodies are constantly changing and in all sorts of ways.Remember, a few changes in a girl’s body shape almost never means a diet is necessary. If a teen or parent is curious about going on a diet, it is best to speak with a doctor about it before trying one out to make sure it is safe for her body.

If a diet is needed, this one may be the way to go. All of the meals in the Peruvian Super Foods diet are healthy and natural, which is the ideal way to diet. With Manuel Villacorta’s new super foods diet, people all around the world can lead can throw out their old diets (that probably aren’t allowing them to eat enough each day), and start leading healthier lives. Manuel Villacorta is an award-winning registered dietitian, author, spokesperson, and educator who just came out with his newest book, “Whole Body Reboot: The Peruvian Super Foods Diet To Detoxify, Energize, And Supercharge Fat Loss.”

What exactly is a super food though? Super foods are types of food that do not have many calories but still have high amounts of nutrients. These are the dream diet foods the world has been hoping for, and they’ve always existed, but now is when more and more people are becoming aware of them.

“The benefits of consuming Peruvian super foods are astonishing: from fighting cancer and reducing inflammation to boosting energy and enhancing memory,” said director of communications for HCI Books, Kim Weiss.

And if eating low-cal nutritious foods aren’t enough, Villacorta’s book doesn’t give meals for just anyone. He offers meals geared toward women and men, as well as specific meals that are vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, as well as for omnivores.

Instead of telling the people trying out his diet how it works, he explains everything from why he chose certain foods to make a meal to how it can help cure certain diseases and promote healthier lives.

Don’t worry about these meals lacking flavor, either. Villacorta’s meals have their own Latin twist on it. For example, he took his mother’s dish called Pallares and changed some things here and there to make it healthier.

Villacorta said in his book, “(my mother) tasted my version, said I did her justice, and gave me her blessing to share this dish with you. Buen provecho!”

Here is the recipe for his version of Pallares:

2 Cups Butter Beans

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1 Medium Yellow Onion, diced

4 Cloves Garlic, sliced

1 Tablespoon Oregano

8 Cups Vegetable Stock

1 Cup Dry Sherry

Salt and Pepper

½ cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

1. Put the beans in a stockpot and cover them with 3 inches of water. Let them soak for 4 hours. Drain the beans in a colander, discarding the water.

2. Transfer the beans back to the stockpot and cover with 3 inches of water. Bring them to a boil over medium heat. Drain the beans in a colander, discarding the water (this process helps remove the oxalates in beans that are responsible for gastrointestinal discomfort).

3. Using the same pot, heat the oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onions, garlic, and oregano. Sauté until the onions begin to soften.

4. Add the beans, stock, and sherry to the pot and bring to a boil. Season the beans with salt and pepper to taste. Cover, reduce heat, and cook at a simmer for about an hour or until the beans are soft. Stir in the parmesan cheese. Serve warm.

Per Serving: Kcal 188g, Protein 9g, Carb 16g, Fat 6g, Sodium 874.5mg, Dietary Fiber 3.5g

Daily Values: Fiber 14%, Vit C 3%, Vit A 2%, Vit D 5 1%, Calcium 22%, Iron 10%

He even offers all of the nutrition facts at the end of every recipe so dieters can know what they are actually putting into their bodies.

Cooking this may seem a little hard, especially shopping for the right ingredients. So why not make it a family dinner? It never hurt to try something new, especially if it’s yummy and healthy. Getting together with the entire family to try this meal, or any meal in his book, could be a lot of fun – especially if you get tired of eating the same types of meals all the time.

Villacorta said it himself, “I don’t kill flavor for health. You can have both; a flavorful and healthy meal. I can teach you how in Whole Body Reboot!”

Latinas Leading the Way in Tech

It’s hard to believe that only three percent of professionals working in the tech industry are Hispanic. That’s counting men and women. There are even less Latinas in tech. Luckily, that is changing as more and more women are diving into the tech world. Here are some talented Latinas leading the way n the industry.

Maria Burns Ortiz

This digital journalist and entrepreneur wrote for ESPN.com and Fox News Latino and she started two startups. She is the co-founder of 7 Generation Games which is a video game company that makes engaging educational video games. She also created Evrybit—a storytelling app that allows the world to share all of the big and small stories from their lives.

Laura Sanchez LindaSanchez

Laura is the CEO of SWATware— an information technology company that helps other countries with their web and software development needs. She has taught Spanish-language workshops on tech and web development topics. In 2013, she was an honorable mention recipient for the Enterprising Women of the Year Awards by the Enterprising Women Magazine.

Laura Gomez

Laura worked for tech giants like Google, Twitter and Jawbone. She was the first Latina to work for Twitter and led the way in creating Twitter en Español and expanding Twitter to 50 other languages. She co-founded VYV that is hoping to make news information more accurate and diverse. She is an outspoken advocate for bringing more women into tech and leading the way for diversity in the industry.

Xeni Jardin

If there is someone who knows a lot about the tech industry, it is Xeni. She is often featured in magazines and broadcast television as a tech expert. Of course that knowledge doesn’t come from out of nowhere. She has spent years writing for Wired, the New York Times, and Boing Boing—a blog of which she is the co-editor.

Raquel Romano

This Ivy League graduate is a senior software engineer at Google that works on a crisis response team. After natural disasters, she steps in using different Google technologies to deliver resource and shelter information to emergency workers and victims. She’s like a superhero with a computer! Before she worked at Google she used her skills to do research about hurricanes and climate.

Daniela Perdomo

Daniela is the co-founder of goTenna—a really cool product that lets cellphones communicate even when there is no service. If that’s not cool enough, the company is using the technology to help people during disasters. They recently won a NYC grant that will give ten thousand small businesses that are in flood-prone zones goTennas for free so they can stay connected and keep us all updated during an emergency.

Liz Salcedo:

Liz started her career in social work and then had an idea for a tech product. Her phone was always dying and she saw a business opportunity in the solution. She created the Everpurse. It is a handbag that has a pocket that will charge your iPhone. Liz managed to mix fashion and technology into one idea. That just goes to show that a good idea can start anywhere.

No matter what interests you, you can find a tech job that will take your love to the next level. Whether you are into social media, inventing crazy gadgets, or helping the world around you, there is a job waiting for you to take it. These Latinas are leading the way into a more diverse tech world, and you can join them.

DIY Graduation Gifts

How did the year pass by so quickly? It seems like it was just time for homecoming, and now the school year is almost over. If you have a best friend that is graduating, you might be looking for a good way to show her that you will always be there for her no matter how far away her future takes her. Try one of these DIY gift ideas that will remind your BFF of your friendship and support for years to come.

The Dorm Survival Kit CollegeSurvivalKit

How did your BFF ever survive without you anyway?

Materials: A medium sized plastic bin, all of her favorite things and travel sized toiletries.

1. Fill the bin with her favorite snacks, drink mixes, and a picture of the two of you. Make sure to also include trial sizes of shampoo, conditioner, face wash, band aids, and laundry detergent.

2. Wait for her to thank you when the drug store is closed and she’s out of shampoo.

Graduation is an exciting time for a graduate and her friends. Make her a gift that shows her how much you support her. Even if your BFF moves across the state for college, you have an unbreakable bond that will last throughout the years.

The Sharpie Mug

Nothing is quite as comforting as a mug of tea or hot cocoa after a long day.

Materials: Plain ceramic mug, an oven, and oil-based Sharpie markers (Note: They are different from regular markers but will make your design last longer.)

1. Using the oil-based Sharpie markers create your design. It can be her favorite saying, a cool drawing, or a fancy monogram of her initials.

2. After finishing the design, let the mug sit for at least 10 minutes so the paint can dry. If thicker parts of the paint are still wet, let it dry longer or it will chip off when you bake it.

3. Put the mug in the oven while it is still cold and preheat it to 425 degrees. This will prevent the mug from cracking.

4. Once the oven has reached 425 degrees, start a timer for 30 minutes.

5. Once the 30 minutes are up, turn off the oven but leave the mug in there. Let it cool down all the way with the oven.

6. Take it out and look at your masterpiece! The mug can be hand washed, but dishwashing is not recommended.

The  “Open When…” Letters

Write letters your BFF can open throughout the year.

Materials: Envelopes and stationary, markers, a pen, and anything else you want to decorate the envelopes with.

1. Write “Open When…” at the top corner of each envelope.

2. Think of letters that you want to write. Some ideas are “Open when… you need to smile,” “Open when you’re feeling homesick,” and “Open when… you ace your first exam.” The possibilities are endless. Don’t forget an “Open when… you get this,” so you can explain the letters.

3. Write each topic on front of the envelopes in marker.

4. Write a letter to go in each envelope.

5. Decorate the letters anyway you want to. You can tie them all together with a piece of ribbon to keep them all together.

The Personalized Journal

Your BFF can write down all of the exciting things she needs to remember to tell you about.

Materials: A hardcover journal, stamps with her initials, an ink pad in a color that will show on the pages, a large binder clip, and a pencil and ruler (optional)

1. Use the binder clip to secure all of the pages together minus the cover. The notebook pages will create a sturdy surface you can stamp.

2. Using the stamps and ink, stamp the initials around the edge of the notebook over and over in the correct order. You can use a large rubber band around the three stamps to create one giant stamp.

3. Open to the inside cover and stamp the initials over and over in straight lines across and down the page. You can use the ruler and pencil to create a guide if you like.

4. Make sure to write a note to your BFF on the first page of the journal.

The Mail Box

Texting is great, but there is something special about sending and receiving a letter through the mail.

Materials: Envelopes, stationary, a page of stamps, a gift box to fit everything, and a small address book (optional)

1. Put the stamps, envelopes, and stamps in the box.

2. You can get your other friends to write their addresses in the address book so your BFF can write to you.

3. Decorate the box anyway you like. Maps of places you went together and pictures of your adventures there can be glued on.

 

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