Staff Spotlight: Jasmine Villa, Editor Behind the Scenes

Meet our amazing Editor who helps amplify the voices of young Latinas by serving as a role model, mentor and writing coach for our Latinitas. 

Q: How long have you been working with Latinitas and what motivated you to apply at this particular organization?

A: I’ve been working with Latinitas for 4 years. My academic interests in intercultural rhetoric, community involvement, literacy, and educational discourse led to volunteering and joining the Latinitas team in 2012. I love the organization, and I am simply in awe and always inspired by the work ethic, dedication, and passion the Latinitas staff have for the community. While I had professional and academic interests in mind, I was motivated to apply to Latinitas because of the environment. Everyone is supportive, and they really do treat you like familia.

Q: What are some of your job responsibilities?

A: I work collaboratively with the staff and interns in order to empower the awesome chicas in our writing programs. I assist with the workflow of the magazine, similar to the Editor-in-Chief/Managing Editor duties, like assigning and editing content for Latinitas Magazine, creating a publishing calendar, and I oversee and guide most of the writers for Latinitas Magazine. In addition, I promote the Youth Editorial Advisory Board (YEAB), help with recruitment and marketing for YEAB, and create content for the YEAB. Occasionally, I will assist with the creation and editing of content for the El Paso office and I assist with social media when I can. In addition, I moderate MyLatinitas.com and provide feedback to written pieces when needed. We are a small organization, but I’m always eager to help wherever and whenever they need me.

Q: Describe your educational and career background prior to working with Latinitas?

A: I worked customer service jobs and as a Properties Designer/Manager prior to working with Latinitas. My career shifted when I began graduate school in 2012.

After concurrently completing a BA in English and American Literature with a minor in Professional Writing and Rhetoric and a BA in Chicano Studies in 2011, I wanted to explore opportunities that would supplement an alt-ac career during graduate school. From 2012 – 2014, I worked with Latinitas while pursuing a MA in Rhetoric and Writing Studies and while working as a Teaching Assistant at the University of Texas at El Paso. My educational background and interest in community engagement intersect, which has led me to pursue a PhD in Rhetoric and Composition. I work as an Assistant Instructor, and I am an advocate of community engagement within my classroom.

Q: Describe a moment or challenge that you believe has prepared you for your current career as an Editor.

A: When you’re juggling being a full-time graduate student, teaching 1-2 classes by yourself, and working part-time, it can be overwhelming. The workload eventually takes its toll, which can affect your emotional and physical state. Juggling multiple roles and tasks has taught me the value of self-care and time management and organizational skills.

Q: What is your advice to young Latinas who aspire to be editors?

A: As an editor, you need compassion and empathy for the struggles writers face. Everyone has different writing styles, skills, and ideas, and, as an editor, you need to be aware of them and find ways for writers to enhance a strength they didn’t know they had.

Don’t compare yourself and self-worth to other writers. There’s always going to be someone whose writing and skills are better than yours. There’s only one you, and what YOU have to say: your ideas, writing, etc. are more valuable than you think. What YOU have to say/think IS important. Don’t be afraid to share that voice. Our community needs it.

Q: What do you like to do on your free time?

A: I have a hectic schedule due to being a full-time PhD student (2nd year), Assistant Instructor at the University of Texas at El Paso, and working with Latinitas, so I try to spend my free time doing things that are not associated with school and/or work related. I need a day where I’m not glued to my laptop, book, or scholarly articles. If you want to be technical, I travel frequently, catch up on movies and tv shows (current favorites are Jane the Virgin and Game of Thrones), and spend time with loved ones (family and friends).

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