Latinas in Brooklyn Nine Nine

Screen-Shot-2014-08-16-at-5.45.26-pm-1There has not been a large variety of leading Latinas in television shows. If a show has a Latina actress, one assumes she is there for diversity instead of representation. And shows having two leading Latina actresses are even more rarer. Suddenly in the fall of 2013, FOX unveiled its new comedy about the crazy antics of police detectives working for a fictional Brooklyn Precinct, Brooklyn Nine Nine. Created by two writers who had previously worked for The Office and Parks and Recreation, Dan Goor and Michael Shur. Brooklyn Nine Nine has won two Golden Globes so far due to its witty script, character development, and all star cast. The cast has a variety of actors with different ethnic and career backgrounds. Including comedy veterans like Andy Samberg, Chelsea Peretti, Joe Lo Truglio, and Terry Crews or dramatic actors like Andre Braugher. However, Brooklyn Nine Nine‘s most representational casting choice came when they cast two up-and-coming Latina actresses, Melissa Fumero and Stephanie Beatriz.

Melissa Fumero, or formerly known as Melissa Gallo, was born on August 19, 1982 in New Jersey to Cuban parents. Her parents are first generation Cuban immigrants. She was formally trained to become an actress, receiving her Bachelors degree in Drama from New York University in 2003. Fumero is mostly known for her role of “Adriana Cramer” in the Soap Opera One Life to Live from 2004-2011. While working for the soap opera she met David Fumero whom Melissa Fumero married in 2007. She also has had a small supporting role in Gossip Girl. It wasn’t until 2013 when she proved that her acting range was not solely dramatic.

 Stephanie Beatriz was born on February 10, 1981, in Argentina to a Bolivian-American mother and a Columbian-American father. Even though she has a large variety of Latino roots in her, she was raised in Webster, Texas. She graduated from Stephens College in 2002. It wasn’t until 2010 when she got her big break with a small role in the independent movie “Short Term 12”. From there she was attained a small role in Modern Family and eventually was able to get her current role as the short-tempered yet tough Rosa Diaz in Brooklyn Nine Nine.

In an interview with Front Row Live Entertainment, Stephanie Beatriz was asked about what it feels to be a successful Latina actress within Brooklyn Nine Nine. She exclaimed. “I’m not doing an accent of any kind, I’m playing this great strong woman character, and there is another Latina on the show too. It’s not just one of us. That felt like a success to me.”

Communication Challenges with Family

A huge problem that happens in almost every household everywhere in the world is handling family relationships. Almost everyone has experienced this at some point in their lives. You love your family and you wouldn’t change them for anything, but that doesn’t mean that you wouldn’t change a few things about them. Sometimes this can lead to having serious arguments with one another, so what happens when it escalates to a huge argument? What happens when there’s a bad communication? When you don’t get along with your mom, dad, brother(s) or sister(s)? What needs to be done to fix this?

Talk about your differences.
Communication is one of the best things you need to do at first when you see that things are not working out. If someone’s talking behind your back, doing things against you that you don’t like, offending another relative or anything similar, you need to talk it out. According to Stress.about.com, if you have some problems with someone you should “see where each of you may have misunderstood the other or behaved in a way you would change if you could, offering sincere apologies, and in other ways resolving the conflict can heal the relationship for the future.”

Communication may solve most (not all) of the problems you may face with your family. So, instead of ignoring the problem, or doing something you may regret, talk it out!

“I used to fight with my mom all the time, until one day I got tired of it and sat with her and talked for hours, problems minimized and now we have a much better relationship” says, Paola Lopez, 15.

See the consequences of your actions.
Don’t do anything you may regret, don’t say anything that you may regret in the future. Think about the situation and what may happen before acting. You don’t know if the other person is going to react the wrong way or take your words or actions. Don’t say anything while you’re angry. Because most problems can be fixed and they will pass, and if you say something hurtful, it may not be possible to take it back.

“I regret some things I said to my cousin, and after 10 years, we are finally talking again,” shares Arely Zapien, 20.

If you can’t see the end of the differences, distance yourself from bad influences.

If you’ve tried to work things out several times and there’s no good answer from the other person, the best you could do is distance yourself from them. You’ve tried and tried, and you’ve done everything in your hands to fix the problem but if things are still the same, it’s time for you to walk away. Even if it’s for a while, distance yourself from the problems and let things cool down a little bit. Don’t hurt yourself no more, be free from that complication and live your life knowing that you did the best you could to work things out. Maybe after a few months, the other person will realize that this thing is not worth risking your relationship for.

“I had to get away from my problems for a while, my aunts didn’t come to their senses, the problems have lowered and now after a long time, they’re realizing they were wrong to judge me,” says Gloria Lopez, 18.

Redefining Mental Illness

It’s not physical, it’s not easy to understand, and, most of the time, it’s completely ignored or called “just a phase.” I’m talking about mental illness. In the Latin@ culture, stigma often follows mental illness. Your “abuelita” may have tried to cure your anxiety with home remedies by rubbing an egg all over you to get “el malo ojo” out. Or your tía saying to “get over it” because it’s only a phase. Deep down we know that it’s not that easy to remove what we’re feeling. Everyone has a battle to fight, but, chicas, you’re not alone.

Dealing with Depression

I experienced depression at a young age, but it became more evident in high school. I lost weight, I had no appetite, and I was becoming extremely introverted. The effects of all this led to more serious symptoms, bone pains, insomnia, and stomach cramps. My parents took me to various doctors to “fix” the problem, and the doctors would check my blood and do all kinds of crazy tests. To them, the problem wasn’t there because it was in my head.  Not once did they ask me how I truly felt. I had a boyfriend, I had great friends and a great family, but I just wasn’t happy. I didn’t see a purpose in life.

One day I was even taken to the emergency room due to serious joint pain and stomach cramps. Nothing was found, of course, except that I hadn’t eaten in 2 days. Through frustration my father said it was “all in my head.”  His words hurt me, it hurt a lot. He didn’t understand, but how could he? Growing up in Mexico meant that mental illness didn’t “exist.” I couldn’t blame my parents for not understanding what I was going through.

Depression followed me to college. Episodes happened, sleep was lost, and concentrating on my schoolwork was extremely hard. One day, through extreme insomnia, I made the decision to see a specialist. It was really difficult for me to get to this step in my life, but I knew I had to do something.

I held my rose gold iPhone in my hand, Student Health Center’s phone number on display, but all I could hear in my head was my Tía calling me crazy, saying it was all in my head, or saying this is a result from leaving to college. I was scared of the criticism, but I overcame it and finally made the phone call.

I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression, but I felt uneasy about the diagnosis. Self-doubt led to thinking if it was really in my head, and knowing what I had just made me feel more insecure! Luckily, my specialist, a very understanding Hispanic doctor, calmed by nerves by saying to “not feel insecure about this; mental illness is just like any other illness and it should not be considered any less. It’s serious and I’m proud of you for coming in on your own to get help. That’s brave. ”He mentioned how anyone who feels something wrong should always look for help. I was prescribed medicine and I was given techniques for my anxiety. For once, I felt the feeling of being able to concentrate on schoolwork and I could breathe without a bad sigh.

Stigma within the Latin@ Community

Stigma regarding mental illness is fairly common within the Latin@ community.  The National Alliance on Mental Illness found that lack and/or misunderstanding of information regarding mental health, language barriers,  lack of health insurance and/or legal status, misdiagnosis, homeopathic remedies, privacy concerns, and  religion are some of the leading causes that contribute to being resistant to mental health care, help, etc. In fact, Latinos are “less likely to seek mental health treatment.” This poses a risk since Latinas have higher risks of depression and suicide. A study on depression and anxiety within the Latin@ community by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University found that “First-and second-generation Hispanics/Latinos were significantly more likely to have symptoms of depression than those born outside the U.S. mainland.” Mental health is real, and it should not continue to be stigmatized and treated as if it’s not.

Linda Eguiluz, a graduate from the University of Texas and now a graduate student at Lewis and Clark college, is familiar with dealing with mental health within the Latin@ community. As a graduate student, the pressures of school has led to dealing with anxiety.

“I think [being a Latina has] definitely affected the way I dealt with [anxiety] initially, and sometimes even now. There is no way to disassociate my ethnic identity from my mental illness, and it is a struggle to reconcile the cultural values placed upon me regarding mental health.”

“I know it is not an easy task to confront our own mental illness when we come from a culture where we are automatically labeled as broken. Educating our loved ones is not our primary responsibility, so it is important to reach out to people that can advocate for you and can guide you through the process. Family is important for latin@ folk, and having that extra layer of support is incredibly important for our well being and progress through medication and psychotherapy,” she adds.

So, chicas, please seek help if you feel that something isn’t right. You are not alone in this, and there are so many people who would love to help you. Seek help from a teacher, counselor, an adult, or make the decision to seek professional help yourself. Mental illness is just like any illness and it is not a joke.

Spotlight: Latina Artist, Author, and Poets

Art is a lifestyle of hard work, dedication, and creativity. These outstanding mujeres make it look so easy.

Rosa Guerrero, founder and artistic director of the International Folklorico Dance Group, is an inspiring folklorico dancer. As an artist, educator, dance historian, and humanitarian, teaching, she has an extensive background and involvement with the El Paso, Texas community.  She is the first Latina in El Paso to have a school named after her: Rosa Guerrero Elementary. Winner of several awards including, but not limited to, the Outstanding Woman in the Arts from Woman’s Political Caucus, LULAC Arts and Humanities award, Arts Alliance Individual Dance Award and Outstanding Hispanic of El Paso.

Helena Maria Viramontes is an iconic Chicana writer whose literary masterpieces reflect her childhood upbringing in East Los Angeles. Her first novel, Under the Feet of Jesus, jumpstarted her career as a renowned author. She is currently the Director of Creative Writing at Cornell University, and is a community organizer and former coordinator of the Los Angeles Latino Writers Association.

Bessy Reina, a highly accomplished poet, was born in Cuba and raised in Panama. Her poetry has been published in both English and Spanish, and in 2001, she was named Latina Citizen of the Year by the State of Connecticut Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission. Later, in 2012, she was named as one out of ten women honored by the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame.  Vivian Shipley, another highly accomplished poet, describes Bessy’s poetry as a “…. a channel, a way to bridge east and  west by reconciling the warring needs of the body, the mind and the heart. Whether Reyna is dancing with a stalk  of sugar cane in Hartford, Connecticut, or in her birthplace of Cuba, poem after poem is as lively as a salsa. Like chewing sugar cane, her poems ultimately reward with their hard-won sweetness, with the taste that leaves us wanting more.” She is currently a writer for the Hispanic newspaper Identidad Latina and for www.CTLatinoNews.com.

Julia de Burgos
A renowned Puerto Rican poet, she is best known for her feminist written contributions for African/Afro-Caribbean writers. As a civil rights activist and teacher, she has, and continues to, inspire many women writers. Her poetry on the struggle of feeling oppressed has touched so many hearts, including the one of the famous Pablo Neruda. Her final poem foreshadowed her death in 1953, and, in 1986, she posthumously received a doctorate in Humans Arts and Letters from the Spanish Department of the University of Puerto Rico.

Police Brutality and Coverage in the Latin@ Community

On February 15, 2016 Antonio Zambrano-Montes was shot in Pasco, Washington. Zambrano-Montes was shot and killed by three Pasco Police Officers. Some might recall the video of Zambrano-Montes’s encounter with the police circulating through the media, which followed the height of the Black Lives Matter movement sparked by the death of another individual shot by the police, Michael Brown.

The Black Lives Matter movement made significant strides to garner attention towards the injustice committed. But, for the Latino community, how does police brutality affect us?  While the shooting in Pasco is not an isolated incident for the Latino community, the impact of this incident shares similarities with the systemic racism and racial tensions of Ferguson. Ferguson is sixty-seven percent black but its police force and government officials majority white, similarly Pasco is fifty-six percent Latino yet the majority of government and law enforcement officials are white. Even though both communities differ, the racial tension for both is worth considering. Including the reaction from both communities after each event. When Brown was shot and killed at the hands of police officers, many citizens from all over the country took to the streets in protest. Soon the hashtags #ferguson #blm and #justiceformikebrown were trending globally. The reaction to the Pasco shooting wasn’t nearly as significant to the one in Ferguson, but, for some, the lack of coverage and significant protests against police brutality in the Latino community poses an issue.

“Is it that we didn’t hear about it or that Latinos didn’t care about it?” added Georgina Perez.

“Why can’t we get the same type of coverage or help?” Kris Ramirez said, echoing the same sentiments when her brother was shot by LAPD in 2014.

A study from Columbia University’s Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race, showed that Latinos comprise less than one percent of total news media coverage, the small coverage that feature Latinos are often portrayed as criminals.

“Violence or discrimination against Latinos does not tend to resonate among most Americans because Latinos are generally not perceived as Americans but recent immigrants or foreigners with no deep roots and histories in the U.S.,” Frances Negrón-Muntaner, the center’s director, said in an interview with The Huffington Post.

The lack of coverage of Latinos shot and killed by police is not an indicator that this isn’t happening. Statistics on the killings committed by police officers are not only hard to find but are also inconsistent. Even so people have crowdsourced information to keep some form of record of police killings. According to research done by Al Dia news, at least 714 people were killed by law enforcement in 2015. 105 of those killed were identified as Latino. 16 of those Latinos were unarmed while 19 showed signs of mental illness.  In fact, according to the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, Latinos are 30 percent more likely to be killed by police than average (right after Native Americans and African Americans).

The reason behind so much coverage of any shooting or incident with the police lies in the hands of the people. People’s involvement can become so significant the the general news media cannot ignore their voices. The issues we face today can receive more coverage if we use social media to voice our concerns of crimes against our own community. But, we shouldn’t just be outspoken of the crimes against us. Sharing positive news of our own community, of working alongside others, also helps empower our narrative as Latin@s.

Writing a College Essay

One of the main things when applying to college is the admission essay. The admission essay, or essays if you have to submit more than one, is your chance to impress college admission officers with your dazzling personality. They have your resumé, test scores, etc., so the admission essay is your opportunity to show the person behind the impressive application packet.

“It’s crazy to write a college essay where you have to sound mature yet let your personality shine through,” says Britney Espada, a high school senior in New York City.

There are many ways to show your personality through the essay. First, make sure to believe in yourself. Without having confidence, it will show through your writing and to the college admissions officer. Admission prompts vary between universities, but common questions include why you want to attend, describe a leadership experience, and/or to explain how you overcame an obstacle.  If this is not the case, then students have the liberty of choosing their own subject.

The following steps is to help high school seniors who need a ‘magical godparent’ for guidance:

1. Read the question or prompt. 
Make sure you understand what the college wants from you. This means that you must know how to answer the prompt well so that you avoid beating around the bush and confusing the admissions personnel. You will want to make it easy for them to know your answer right away. A helpful tip is to tailor the response to the university. For example, having a generic answer for why you want to attend college or how you overcame the biggest obstacle in your life is a good start. A stronger response is one that shows how you overcame the obstacle and how this experience has taught you valuable lessons that you will apply as a student at the university you’re applying to.

2. Know your strengths and weaknesses.
It is important to know your greatest traits as this will be your selling point in your essay. Write them down on a piece of paper or type it up. If you are having trouble, think about instances where you have excelled or write about activities you are passionate about like your love of helping the community, a sport, or extracurricular activity.

3. Start writing!
When you’re ready to start drafting your college essay, don’t pay attention to correct tenses or grammar yet. Just write some sentences to get the flow going. If you feel that one topic is easier to write than the other, then feel free to do so. Even the ordinary everyday activities can be interesting to read about.

4. Pay attention to your introduction.
Remember to make it lively. You could start writing right in the action to catch the attention of the admissions officer. They skim through the large volume of college essays they receive, so if you have a strong introduction then it’ll make your essay more memorable. A good introduction could start with something like “Baked Alaska. It is delicious to eat but darn right hard to bake, but it has taught me how to surpass obstacles.”

5. Organization is key!
Then, when you have more content in your draft, arrange which paragraph should go where. You can start right in the action or with an appropriate introduction where you’d rather introduce yourself or the question.

6. Don’t be afraid of sounding casual.
It’s better to sound authentic than presumed. This of course does not mean that you can use offensive words for dramatic effect or any slang words. The point is to avoid using flowery language such as imbroglio.

7. Now edit your grammar.
(Steps 5 and 6 can be combined).

8. Take a break after working on your first draft.
This could be a couple of minutes or days. The point of this is to see your essay with fresh eyes.

9. Review one more time.
Now, go back and edit your essay again. As you’re reading ask yourself : did I answer the question? At this point show your writing to a friend, teacher, parent, or counselor, for feedback. Make revisions if needed.

11. Submit!
At last you are done! Pat yourself on the shoulder, because you are ready to submit your college essay with confidence.

Hopefully this guide will be helpful for young folks applying to college. Buena suerte!

The Wonders of Quotev

written by Angie Flores

With so many people using the internet daily, it is not uncommon to see multiple social media web pages, such as Facebook or Twitter, with millions of users logging in and constantly stating updated/connected with friends. But digging away from the commonly known social media sites, there is one peculiar page with a whole world of its own. Quotev, or formerly known as Quizzaz, is a webpage focused mainly on the creativity of thousands of users across the world. Containing a variety of stories, quizzes, groups and such, all done by regular people, Quotev can be considered an online paradise. Mostly popular among teenagers, Quotev is growing quickly.

While most pages like Wattpad and Miss Literati offer writing services, Quotev is a whole place of its own. It also offers the opportunity to speak with artists around the world. It is recognized that Quotev does not usually contain material known by the majority of teenagers nowadays. The page is a getaway to roam free for every fangirl/fanboy to happily be dedicated to their idols/fandoms/etc. Some ways users show their love and passion to their likes are by writing fanfiction (which is a large amount of the writing content), starting groups (multiple groups can including role playing), and making quizzes (such as seeing whether you are a “true fan” of a certain topic).

“I think the best part about Quotev would have to be the writing,” Maggie Gordon, 14, shares.

Quotev users are also able to customize their profiles like any other social media account — except with more freedom than the usual. Quotev is sometimes referred to as “the place where all those who don’t fit come together.” Multiple users have even mentioned that speaking to the people they have met through the page saved their lives. While most pages like Instagram are focused on seeing what “real-life” friends are up to, Quotev gives a revolutionary twist to friendship by creating online friendships.

“Quotev is my life. Literally, “Lena Quinn, 18, adds.

“In these two years I’ve been here, I’ve met so many amazing friends, made great memories. This webpage  changed my way of living, in a great way.”

Gordon has a similar experience with Quotev.

“The people online are so friendly. Plus the stories are amazing! I think lots of them should actually be published,” she adds.

While many doubt online friendships, this site has been overwhelmingly positive.

“Once I showed my parents [the page]… they were angry,” adds Quinn.

“I get that they don’t trust anyone online, but I know these are my friends. It’s sad that I cherish these people more than the ones in reality, but I know it was meant to be. Different timezones don’t define friendship,” she shares.

Quotev is packed with multiple caring people, or so Quinn narrates: “I’ve talked to my followers on Skype, I have some of their numbers and Kik [accounts]. They’re just my sweethearts. If I ever put an RA (which stands for Recent Activity, aka a post) about me feeling down, they’re right there to help me to my feet. I couldn’t go through anything without them.”

Gordon supported this case by commenting how has made a couple of friends.

“They’re great! I never saw how great Quotev would be coming,” she adds.

But Quotev is not always sunshine and rainbows. The page, unfortunately, has had some cases of bullying. Most of the cases involve some of the popular accounts. In addition, some users have experienced hacking and spam accounts. One can assume that this stems from the site’s increase in popularity, but, aside from these bad experiences, it still continues to be a positive experience for many teens.

But at the end, flaw after flaw, Quotev.com will forever be the home of thousands of people across the planet “Quotev is my everything” Quinn happily concludes. “I can’t imagine life without it.”

Latina Spotlight: Isabelle Salazar

I’ve met a series of professional women throughout my life. Whether they’re engineers, teachers, or business women, they’ve all influenced me in some way or another. However, none of them had managed to leave an emotional impression on me that went beyond awe for their strength and determination.

It feels as if I’ve been searching for a role model my entire life. I’ve been looking someone with whom I can connect with beyond professional and polite conversations and smiles. I’m well aware of what the role of a mentor is supposed to be – I’ve had the definition drummed into my head through countless business seminars.

Isabelle Salazar changed my life. She is not only my journalism adviser – someone I automatically respect because of her position of power as my teacher – but she has also become a close friend and confidant. She’s the person I come to first when I have an issue I need help dealing with or when I have good news to share. She has gone above and beyond her responsibilities as my adviser and words cannot express how thankful I am to have her as a mentor. I’ve known Ms. Salazar for the entirety of my high school career and with high school graduation being nearly two months away, the four years of knowing her seem like a lifetime.

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Maroon News editors working SXSWedu. Photo credit: Isabelle Salazar, @ibellesalazar

Ms. Salazar is the person that made me realize that I wanted to pursue a career in journalism. Since the moment I realized what I wanted to do with my life – pursue a communications degree, work for Univision – I’ve worked hard to prove not only to myself but to her that I have what it takes to achieve my goals. I’ve attended session after session of social media and journalism trainings to become better at what I do.

Ms. Salazar changed my life for the better because she’s been there for me when I need her. She was one of the first people I told that I am an undocumented, DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) student and since then, she has stopped at nothing to help me on the path to a higher education – including, accompanying me to St. Louis, Missouri when my parents weren’t able to do so due to their immigration status.

Our relationship is all about giving as much as we get. She shares with me as much as I share with her. I’ve told Ms. Salazar some pretty emotional and deep stuff. She’s seen me at my worst and she’s seen me at my best. Through our time together, she’s almost become a second mother to me, although her young age says so otherwise.

I have spilled the darkest secrets of my past that aren’t really so secret anymore. She was one of the first people I told about my past before coming to Austin – from crossing the Mexico-U.S. border to living with an abusive father. Ms. Salazar helped me free myself from what was holding me back: fear of judgement.

I’ve always been ashamed of my immigration status and I’ve always been ashamed of revealing any details of my abusive childhood. The fear of judgement plagued my mind for years on end and it severely damaged many relationships for me.

However, she encouraged me to share my story through The Maroon, our news magazine that has an audience of about 2,100 students, staff, and faculty. I wrote a commentary piece that spread over nearly four pages. I wrote my story with great detail and poured my heart into it. After the story went into print, many of my peers came up to me, thanking me for sharing my story with raw honesty. They trusted me enough to share with me that we’re not so different; they trusted me enough to tell me that they too are undocumented.

I would have never dared to even think of sharing my story with more people than necessary if it hadn’t been for my adviser. Ms. Salazar has not just been a mentor and a friend. She gave me courage and she gave me strength, and I will always be thankful for that.

 

Career Spotlight: Press Secretary- L.A. Federation of Labor

Gabriella Landeros

Name: Gabriella Landeros

Job Title: Press Secretary for the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO

What are some of your job responsibilities?

I support over 300 labor unions in their media needs, prepare the Federation’s Executive Secretary-Treasurer for all media and speaking obligations, write speeches, and plan and execute media strategies for the organization’s campaigns. I also edit and assist in drafting policies and manage the organization’s digital channels.

What is your educational background?
I graduated from the University of California, Riverside in 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts in Media and Cultural Studies and minor in Spanish. I also spent my junior year abroad studying in Madrid, Spain.

Describe your college experience and how it helped you prepare for your career:
I always loved writing, but I was interested in news writing in particular. I volunteered at my university’s radio station (KUCR 88.3 FM), and I was on-air every morning reporting the news for the day. I was also a student reporter for Uwire.com: The College Network and writer, editor, and reporter for my university’s virtual newspaper. During study abroad, I also got the chance to take radio and production classes with students from around the world. To top off my college experience, I interned in Washington, D.C. as a Congressional Reporter for the Talk Radio News Service. It was in D.C. where my love for writing and politics joined forces.

How did you find your current job?
Networking! I met my now coworker during a media training in Washington, D.C. We had a lot of things in common, but the most striking coincidence is that we both grew up in the same area. She told me about the Press Secretary position at the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, and I jumped at the opportunity. I am grateful for the chance at giving back to my community, while being close to my family. My mom and brother are proud union members, and I knew I wanted to find a career that involved advocating for good jobs and fair wages.

What did you do to prepare for this career?
I wrote and read a lot. Since college I maintained a blog and contributed stories to different news outlets, such as Latinitas Magazine and the Independent Voter Network. You have to enjoy writing and stay up-to-date on the news everyday. Part of my role involves being contacted by the media if breaking news occurs in relation to my organization. I not only have to be quick on my feet, but I have to understand what is going on and how I am controlling the message.

My past positions that include campaign work and serving in the Obama Administration, also prepared me for the long and unexpected hours that come with a career in communications.

What do you like most about your job?
I like being able to control the message and pushing the values my organization represents, which I also identify with and believe in. Whether it’s a campaign or issue I’m publicizing, I feel satisfaction knowing the amount of workers it will impact. Most importantly, I feel like I’m making a difference.

What is the most challenging part of your job?
The most challenging part of my job is writing in someone else’s voice that is not my own. With communications, you often have to write from a different perspective that you may not be used to. Although challenging, it makes you think out of the box.

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

  • Start building your portfolio now. Any job that involves writing or the arts, is going to ask for samples of your work.
  • Write! Write about anything you’re passionate about, and do it often.
  • Never take someone else’s work for your own.
  • Stay up-to-date on current events.
  • Read books.
  • Take advantage of internships.
  • Never give up!

What do you do for fun when you aren’t working?
I enjoy running. Running is my version of yoga – it relaxes me. It helps me de-stress.

¿Quien Soy Yo? / Who Am I?

AriadneThere are many things that shape who you are, your identity. For me, it deals with my name, nationality, roots, and family history. They have shaped me who I am today, but it hasn’t always been easy. So, who am I? My name is Ariadne and I am 24 years old. This is my story.

Some say your identity starts with your name. For me, it’s a more personal story. The first time my dad saw me he wanted me to have an original name. The origin of it is Greek and it belonged to a princess who protected the entrance of the infamous Minotaur’s cave. I know most of my professors don’t really know how to pronounce my name and I deal with it every time I get to know someone new. I like my name, don’t get me wrong, but I wouldn’t be mad if I had an easier one. My name shapes who I am, but so do a lot of things.

Finding Strength through my Roots
For the most part of my life, I have attended only Mexican schools. I consider myself a Mexican, even if I was born in El Paso, Texas. My parents and brothers were born in Ciudad Juárez, and, for that reason, my roots are stronger than my nationality. As I said, both of my parents were born in Ciudad  Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico.  My maternal grandmother was the daughter of a Spanish colonist who settled in Parral, Chihuahua then later came to Ciudad Juárez to have a  better life.  Mama Quecha, what she likes to be called, is the “patriarca” of my mother’s family. Mama Quecha  was married to my Papa Grande, whose father fought in the Mexican Revolution.

I have Spanish roots from my grandmother, and I must say that I am the only red head with curly hair in the entire family — which I love. My grand-grandfather was a red head with white skin among the indigenas. When my  abuelita had nine sons, one of them came out a red head with blue eyes, too. My dad’s  family also has some Spanish roots, too, but those roots are not as strong as my mother’s family. My Spanish roots shape my physical appearance and are a part of my identity, but who I am comes from living in a U.S.-Mexico border city and relationship with my family.

Living in a U.S.-Mexico Border City
I had difficulty adjusting to the environment of both cities (El Paso, Texas and Ciudad, Juárez) because the people were so different from one another. My dad used to tell me that he didn’t want me to be like a chicana. I didn’t understand why, but I thought that it was something bad. My dad referred to them as  stuck up women covered with tattoos. During my first two years of college, I was able to meet and learn more about the Chicano culture. The Chicanas were so different and nothing like my dad had described them. The Chicanas helped me be confident and not scared of college. Now, I’m a junior majoring in Multimedia Journalism and close to getting my degree.

Even though I wasn’t born in Mexico, my culture and roots come from there. I feel very proud to say I’m Mexican and I’m not scared of my beautiful Ciudad Juárez. I have a lot to be thankful to that city, and I’m not ashamed to say where I come from. I grew up and lived there, I have friends and I even prefer to have fun in my beloved Ciudad Juárez. I’m happy to know that my family has a rich diversity and history in Mexico, but both Mexico and the city of El Paso has helped shape who I am.