Volunteer Spotlight: Business Chica Chair

Latinitas would like to express our deep gratitude to Angela Sustaita, ourIMG_0766 Business Chica Conference Chair. As the conference chair, Angela helped with organizing an excellent event focused on inspiring the next generation of business leaders through career & college panels, presentations on business planning and sessions on financial literacy.  She also helped offer hands-on activities to help girls develop their own business venture ideas, marketing plans, business plan and advertisements. Angela played an instrumental role finding the conference venue, organizing speakers, recruiting volunteers, planning the agenda, getting donations, sponsoring food, serving as a speaker during the event and helping make sure the event was a success. Thank you to Angela for all your wonderful efforts to help inspire the next generation of business owners!

Angela talked about her experience with the Business Chica Event.

“I think the Business Chica event really opened girls’ minds to entrepreneurship. A lot of girls are only given a few options to plan for their future. It is important for girls to start thinking early about their future. I think the girls learned that you don’t have to be a specific age to start your own business; they can start early to get an advantage. It is great for the girls to know the basic steps they can do to start their own business. The panel of business leaders was wonderful. It is important to give girls real world examples and to show them successful women. It also showed them that these successful women are humans and they aren’t perfect. I think the girls can relate to them because they started just like the girls. Many of them had barriers and faced challenges, but that didn’t stop them.”

Volunteer Spotlight, Stephanie Moreno

Stephanie Moreno has been one of our most dedicated volunteers over the last five years. She has taken on leadership roles in helping run an after-school club, serving as a guest speaker on multiple times and recently acting as our event chair for our Aim High Conference. She shared some of her experiences as a volunteer…

I wanted to get involved with the Aim High STEM event because I feel passionately about exposing girls to science and technology and the opportunities it can offer them in the future.

It is extremely important to connect girls to other women and girls that they can look up to because it gives them an example that they can look up to.Having a good role model can inspire the girls to set goals to grow up and become successful women.

Volunteering with Latinitas has been an extremely rewarding experience all around but the best part has been connecting to the girls and learning about their future dreams and goals. It has been very special to work with them and make an impact in their lives.

It is important for girls to start learning about possible career options early because this will help them prepare for their career goals. As the world has gotten increasingly competitive it is important to teach the girls how to set goals and long term plans that will get them there.

It is very important to me to teach young girls about opportunities in STEM because many branches still suffer from a lack of female professionals. It is important to society as a whole to develop a well represented group of professionals and events like this can show them the various options available to them.

If I could give a message to younger girls it would definitely be to never give up no matter how difficult or out of your league a dream might seem. Dreams are for everyone and anybody with the drive and perseverance can achieve it.

The message and central focus of Latinitas is very close to my heart because it speaks to the younger versions of myself. Programs like Latinitas are crucial to developing young girls’ confidence and belief in themselves, and when we do that anything is possible for them.

Intern Spotlight: Fall 2014

Giselle Portillo
Graphic Design Intern
EPCC, Marketing Major
I was in the Graphic Design program at my high school for the last three years. I would like to continue learning and developing those skills as well. Graphic Design ignited my creativity and helped me grow as a designer.To gain “real-wordl” experience in the field of advertising and graphic design. I am also a Latina, and I would love to be able to gain this experience that I am eager to work for by interning at “Latinitas” and be able to help a helping organization like this one grow. I would like to become a part of “Latinitas” to learn from it and contribute to it in order to help the organization grow and therefore help impact more Latin girl’s lives.An internship with “Latinitas” in the field of marketing and graphic design will help me gain experience and grow as a marketer/designer. As a Latina I would also like to help out other Latinas and through this internship I believe I would be able to do that. This internship will help me gain the right type of experience and skills that I need in order to reach my goal of becoming an experienced marketer/graphic designer to help grow and advertise “good for the community” services and organizations like “Latinitas” that care and are willing to help communities. “Latinitas” would be the first step to help me gain the experience and exposure that I need in order to reach my goal of advertising and letingt people know about good intentioned products, services and organizations.

Karla Castillo
Web Design Intern
UTEP Computer Science Major
I wanted to join because I heard that working with your organization was a lot of fun. You only don’t learn about one area, you could learn much more than that. I am currently working for a certification for Dreamweaver, and Flash from Adobe because my career goals are to focus on being a webmaster. Latinitas will help me reach my goals because I can gain real life experience. I want to learn more about web pages and gain some real life experience.

Michelle Bretado
Marketing Major
UTEP Media Advertising Major
The first time I heard about Latinitas was at Chalk the Block. I’ve had several friends intern with Latinitas and they had so many positive things to say about the internship. I can express my creativity, utilize my communication skills, and learn from my peers. Participating in an internship with Latinitas will allow me to gain experience in my field as well as empower young teens in a positive way. This internship will help me explore my career interests and gain experience working in my field of study.

Ariana Ortega
Editorial Intern
UTEP Multimedia Journalism Major
I would like to apply for this position for the experience and to further understand and learn more about the field. I would like to participate in an internship with Latinitas because it is local and while learning about the field it also involves helping young girls in various ways. My career goals are to graduate with a bachelors degree in Multimedia Journalism and continue on to work for a masters degree. This internship with Latinitas will help me reach my goals by serving as a stepping stone and a foundation to what my future may hold. It will also serve as a window to view what could potentially be my ultimate career!

Volunteer Spotlight: Service Learning Students

Latinitas teams up with the UTEP Center for Civic Engagement and the EPCC Service Learning Department to offer hands-on service learning opportunities for college students to gain hands-on volunteer experiences to compliment their educational experience. We are grateful for these student leaders who serve as mentors for our youth, help lead workshops, assist with our after-school programs and help at our special events.

Valeria Rodriguez
UTEP, Education Major
“I want to be part of the successful and exciting motivational organization Latinitas provides. I want to give back to my community and to learn more about my culture.”

Teresa Turon
UTEP, Criminal Justice Major
“This committee sounds like a fun and empowering environment! I was interested in the program you offer for young females. I would like to help out the community. I’d like to help these young ladies to be helpful and orient them to become successful in their future. I would like to be a role model for them and help them in anything they would need. I’d like to gain knowledge to help in any way possible. This program would help me in my Juvenile class I’m currently taking and in future classes.”

Marisela Ramirez
“I hope to gain experience and to learn more about the community.”

College & Career Day Volunteers

In November, Latinitas hosted a college & career day in our after-school program to give girls an opportunity to meet local female leaders, gain an understanding of the importance of college and learn about different career options.  We we appreciate our volunteers for sharing their time with Latinitas, serving as role models for girls, promoting higher education and helping expose them to a wide range of career opportunities. Here a couple of our volunteers share why they are passionate about inspiring local girls…

Carolina Chianelli
EPCC, Biology Professor
“As a Hispanic female, I think we need to show more positive Hispanic role models. We need to empower these young women and showing them that there are opportunities available to them is extremely important. For example, I never met a female engineer while I was growing up but I”m sure that engineering would have been an ideal field for me. Had I met a female engineer, I may have been an engineer instead of a Biologist! Giving back to my community gives a sense of fulfillment.”

Anna Haro
EPCC, Library Clerk
“I have always loved to work with children/youth, and most importantly inspire and guide them to thrive within educational choices and thus teach them about giving back to their community. My thesis focused on gender construction, through government-issued textbooks, and its influence over career choices. Textbooks, through images and vocabulary, have a deep impact on girls’ and boys’ attitudes over their career choices. I would like to break off those gender stereotype career choices that these girls have learned that they need to follow. As a volunteer with Latinitas, I hope to see participants gain knowledge over the opportunities education can offer them.

Volunteer Spotlight: Olga Ochoa

Olga Ochoa, a volunteer since 2012, started as a Youth Outreach Intern and is now one of the coordinators for the Girl Talk workshops hosted by Latinitas at the JuvenileDetentionCenter. Olga is a key leader in guiding young women in the detention center through hands-on self-expression activities. The goal of these activities is to boost their self-esteem, promote good decision making and encourage girls to take steps towards a positive future. Girls have participated in projects to help them share their own experiences, and discuss important topics like healthy relationships, goal setting, education and confidence. “[Latinitas] is important for young girls because it helps them see and think ahead. I would recommend it to others because it is a great way to establish motivation among young girls and guide them to succeed in their future,” says Olga. Olga is an inspirational role model to young girls. She graduated from UTEP with a BA in Anthropology and is currently wrapping up her last semester as a Masters student.

Volunteer Spotlight: Maribel Padilla

Maribel Padilla has been an integral part of Latinitas since 2012. She started as a Club Leader and is now our go-to person for multimedia design and video editing.


I believe very passionately in the goal Latinitas is trying to reach, which is that of empowering young Latinas to follow a career path in media and technology. As a fellow media maker, I believe the best way to strengthen my skills is to try and teach it to someone else,” adds Maribel.


Estela Casas inspired Maribel Padilla over 10 years ago when Estela asked her what she wanted to be when she grows up, Maribel answered she wanted to be on TV just like Estela. Forward to 2013, and Maribel just graduated last December with a Creative Multimedia Degree from NMSU and is on her way to become a leading Latina in the film industry. She is currently part of the Production Crew for KCOS-13 and aspires to one day “move to a big city and work on big film productions.


Her advice to future journalists and filmmakers is to “get involved in as many extra-curricular activities. Colleges like students who like to get involved.”

Volunteer Spotlight: Brianna Castrejon

Briana Castrejon, a student at the University of Texas at El Paso, is a natural-born leader. She has led several workshops in our after school clubs and in our Be YOUnique, College Chica, Healthy Chica and Wellnes workshops, and the Aim High Conference. She loves leading activities and helping inspire local youth, because these programs allow them to start thinking about college as well as boost their self-esteem and self-worth.

“My sister became an intern at Latinitas, and would talk about her exciting experiences in working for this organization and the different people she was able to meet. This is what motivated me to join Latinitas…The most rewarding experiences is being able to interact with the young girls in both the workshops or the clubs. They are so happy to be with you as you are to see them. You are always learning through each other by talking about new experiences and discussing difficult topics.”

Club Leader Spotlight

These chicas are at the forefront of making a difference in our after-school enrichment programs, Club Latinitas.

Bianca Castrejon, Social Work major (UTEP)
“Latinitas is important for young girls because the organization can help them with self esteem and self assurance, where it can be tough to come by at a young age. What I like most about Latinitas is its goal to empower and provide leadership skills for all Latinas. I want to help out in our community especially with empowering young Latinas.”

Gabriela Griego, Psychology major (UTEP)
“I was interested in Latinitas because I think it is important to have as young women someone to look up to besides your parents and I think being able to empower them is also important. What I like most about Latinitas is the fact that it gives exclusivity to the girls in order for them to be in a comfortable environment where they are able to express themselves.“

Stephanie Hernandez, Women Studies/Linguistics major (UTEP)
“I was interested in Latinitas because the idea of empowering young women through creative outlets sounded like something I’d enjoy and would love to do. [I like that Latinitas] offers guidance for young girls as well as a safe and comfortable environment. I believe [Latinitas] is important because it exposes them to different ways of having fun, educates them and gives them confidence through self expression.”

Daniela Lagunes, Psychology major (UTEP)
Daniela is a seasoned Club Leader veteran. She started volunteering for Latinitas in 2010. Her advice to young Latinitas is to
“not let yourself down just because they make fun of you. Use it as an experience to respect others and the way they look [and treat you]. Be strong and speak up!”

Dayna Quezada, Counseling major (UTEP)“Being a female Hispanic myself, I feel a personal connection and duty in trying to reach out to other young Latinas. What I like most [about Latinitas] is that it is an outreach organization for mostly females and I feel this group of females are the ones who need the most support.”

Mara Rivas, Psychology major (UTEP)
“[I like the] opportunity to change and shape the young girl’s future and hopefully make their lives happier. I think this organization is extremely important for Hispanic girls, so they can get to know themselves better and get help from us to guide them in their future careers and personal development.”

Iliana Rosales, Social Work major (UTEP) “What [made me decide to intern] with Latinitas is that the organization helps Latina girls, and, since my major is social work this is a great opportunity. What I like the most about Latinitas is that it helps teens and girls with any issues; [volunteers] are their mentors.”

Intern Spotlight: Spring 2014

Latinitas would like to thank our dedicated team of interns…

Itzel Nava, a Photography Intern, is a Freshmen at El Paso Community College studying Surgical Tech. “What I like most about Latinitas is that they are willing to help Latinas around the community without getting anything in return,” she adds.

Paulete Espinoza, Editorial Intern, is studying Journalism at the University of Texas at El Paso. Her career goals include “becoming the editor/writer of a magazine or a print publishing media” and “[changing] a person’s life with the words I write in a magazine or newspaper.”

Lynnette Hernandez, Translation Intern, is currently pursuing her Masters at the University of Texas at El Paso. “I like that [Latinitas] focuses on empowering young Latinas and [how] it provides a safe environment for them to grow and learn new skills,” shares.

Abril Ramos, Marketing Intern, graduated in 2013 with a BA in Media Advertising from the University of Texas at El Paso.
“As a young Latina myself, I could not think of a better place to strengthen my skills and experience new and powerful [educational opportunities] by volunteering with Latinitas],” she shares.

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