20 Latinitas Under 20

Young Latinas are paving the way as community leaders, activists and volunteers. A wave of young talented Latinas are ready to become the future leaders of America. These young Latinas are getting involved, acting as leaders and creating positive change.

Ana Ruiz

Ana Ruiz, 20 Latinitas Under 20

Ana Ruiz Age: 17 Heritage: Hispanic Hometown: El Paso, Texas Volunteer Experience: Volunteering at nursing homes, working with children, leading art workshops for younger kids, helping out around school, writing for Latinitas Magazine and helping recruit new members for clubs and community activities. What challenges has she overcome? She was accepted into a challenging early… Read more

Teen Media Academy Latinitas

Yuri de Leon, 20 Latinitas Under 20

Name: Yuri de Leon Hometown: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Age: 19 Volunteer Experience Yuri is a young lady that is definitely a leader. Even thou she has two jobs; she finds time to help her community. Yuri helps elementary kids do their homework; due that their parents don’t know English. When ever someone needs to go to the doctor,… Read more

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Stephanie Meneses: 20 Latinitas Under 20

Name Stephanie Meneses Age 17 Hometown Las Vegas, Nevada Volunteer Experience: I organize events at school such as a campus beautification where it gives students an opportunity to volunteer and receive community service hours for cleaning up trash on campus. I also organize a national event that is called Dimes for Down Syndrome where the school donates spare… Read more

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Maribel Velazquez, 20 Latinitas Under 20

Name: Maribel Velazquez Age: 18 Hometown: Volunteer Experience She is actively involved in LULAC. She sits as the district 3 director for youth. She is constantly trying to better the community through service and get others around her to do the same. She has outstanding volunteer hours, with over 100 hours of service completed in her high… Read more

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Dianne Calix, 20 Latinitas Under 20

Name: Dianne Calix Age: 18 Hometown: Carolina, Puerto Rico Volunteer Experience I’ve been in LULAC for 4years and it is also an honor to be LULAC Youth VP of southeast. I motivate people to be part of LULAC and also volunteer in the community. We do fundraisers to be able to have enough money to go… Read more

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Makayla Santiago, 20 Latinitas Under 20

Name: Makayla Santiago Age: 19 Hometown: Volunteer Experience Makayla is a part of the sorority Sigma Gamma Phi in which she participates in community service events throughout Western New York. She is passionate about putting an end to bullying and works closely with the organization Kindness Above Malice. She loves to make people feel welcomed and she… Read more

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Lauren Swerdloff, 20 Latinitas Under 20

Name: Lauren Swerdloff Age: 16 Hometown: Hollywood, California Volunteer Experience Since 2009, Lauren has been volunteering at the Hollywood Sunset Free Clinic, a non-profit organization that provides free health care services to more than 58,000 homeless, low-income and uninsured individuals per year, in the Los Angeles community. As a volunteer, Lauren has been commited to helping underpriviledge… Read more

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Elizabeth Gonzalez, 20 Latinitas Under 20

Name: Elizabeth Gonzalez College: Bowdoin College (Brunswick, Maine) Age: 19 Hometown: El Paso, Texas Volunteer Experience: She has volunteered extensively throughout her life with the following groups: Animal Rescue League, Corpus Christi Church Can Food Drive, La Posada Home Inc. Shelter for Battered Woman, Ascarate Park Environmental clean up, DaVita Kat Walk and Latinitas Magazine… Read more

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Indira Ortega

Age:18 Grade:Freshman in college Tell us about a cause that you are passionate about. Why did you pick this issue for your service project? Violence in Juarez. I chose it because I have friends that have been going through tough times because of the violence over there. What is the community need or problem? Why… Read more

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Meet Erika

Erika Anchondo Age: 21 Cultural Background: Mexican-American Classification: Senior Major: Organizational & Corporate Communication What made you decide to go to college? I was fortunate enough not to worry if I was going to be able to attend college or not. My aunt wanted to make sure that I had a better life than she… Read more

Leading Latinitas for Girls

College Mentor: Patty Cuellar

Age: 20 Cultural Background: Hispanic Classification: Junior Hometown: San Antonio, Texas Major: Marketing & Spanish The reason I decided to go to college was because my mother always told me in order to be successful you need an education. That’s why I always strived to excel academically. I picked the University of Texas because my… Read more

Careers

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Career Spotlight: Ada Alvarez Conde

Ada Alvarez Conde, Women’s Rights Advocate Position: Senate & Fundación Alto al Silencio Director of the Committee for Women Issues Hometown:  San Juan Puerto Rico Website: www.loquenodije.com Describe your work: I founded a non-profit to create awareness of dating violence and to prevent domestic violence. I’ve given more than 300 conferences in schools, universities, communities,… Read more

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Career Spotlight: Assistant Instructor

Carolyn Rhea Drapes is an instructor in the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), she holds a PhD and imparts English and business writing classes. What are some of your job responsibilities? As a graduate student, I seek to use the dissertation process and time to create new knowledge and collaborate with my peers…. Read more

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http://www.congreso.net/

Career Spotlight: Chief Communications Officer

Name: Yvette A. Nuñez Position & Title: Chief Communications Officer Employer: Congreso de Latinos Unidos, Inc. City & State: Philadelphia, PA What are some of your job responsibilities? I lead our $24M multi service non-profit organization’s fundraising, communications, special events, corporate relations, community relations, civic engagement and volunteer management efforts; serve as member of executive… Read more

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Career Spotlight: Chief School Officer

Danna Diaz Position & Title: Chief School Officer, Area One Superintendent Employer: El Paso ISD City & State: El Paso What are some of your job responsibilities? I serve elementary and middle schools that feed into four high schools. They are Bowie, Coronado, El Paso and Jefferson/Silva. I work with principals and central office to… Read more

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Latina Lawyers: You Can Do It!

How many times has it been said, “Law school is so hard”? The chances are probably several times. Like any form of higher education, law school is a challenging commitment that requires hard work and discipline. Instead of letting naysayers put ideas of “you can’t” in your head, think “you can”! Latinas are underrepresented in… Read more

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Career Spotlight: Marketing Manager

Name: Michelle Raphael Position and Title: Associate Marketing Manager for the Power To End Stroke campaign Employer: American Heart Association in Dallas, TX What are some of your job responsibilities? I manage all of the online properties for the Power To End Stroke movement and Vida Saludable, a healthy living site for Latinos. These include… Read more

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Careers: State Farm Agent

Crystal Martinez used her business and financial savvy to help others by opening up her own business as a State Farm Agent.  Her work involves meeting with clients and helping them plan insurance and financial services that meet their needs. She shares her experience starting her own business. Position & Title: State Farm Agent Employer: State Farm… Read more

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Linda Asaf

Linda Asaf is a Texas designer with a penchant for lace, chiffon and silk dresses. Asaf, who is of Mexican and Chinese heritage has her own shop in Austin, a new swimsuit line and an online store. She is perhaps best known for her custom-made bridal gowns, which start at around $1,500, depending on the… Read more

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Latino Writer David Rice

Crazy Loco, a collection of nine short stories, makes you laugh and cry. Filled with passion, a little romance and focused entirely on life growing up Mexican-American in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, Crazy Loco is an award-winning book by David Rice, whose pre-teen life, abuelos, friends and family are clearly the inspiration for… Read more

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Career Spotlight: Fashion Designer

With every successful professional, there comes a story of challenges and inspiration. Fashion designer, Alice Garcia, is no exception. After graduating with a fashion design degree in Guadalajara, Mexico, she began her career in the industry in 1975, working for the company, Artcarved, as a jewelry designer. From that point, she tells us how she… Read more

Cool Clubs

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Politically Active Latinas

The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA) is moving forward several strategies to help empower the Latino community. Through trainings, outreach and advocacy efforts, NHLA works to identify and support entry-level through Cabinet-level candidates pursuing presidential appointments. They have been involved in supporting the rise of several Latino professionals now serving in some of the highest… Read more

Debate

My Experience with Debate

When I was first introduced to debate, it was kind of by accident. I didn’t necessarily go looking for the class; in fact, I didn’t even know that there was a debate team at my school. My friend was giving me a ride home after school but needed to talk to a teacher before heading… Read more

NAHJ

National Association of Hispanic Journalists

In high school, you have school newspaper or journalism clubs after school, but what happens when you go to college? Latino journalism students have a place of their own and it’s called college chapters of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. I attend the University of Texas at Austin and I happily report our group… Read more

Leading Latinas

Film Producer

Hollywood Movie Director Carmen Marron

Carmen Marron is a filmmaker and the founder of Sparkhope Productions, a company dedicated to creating films that bring awareness to women’s issues and teen struggles. Latinitas got the chance to speak with Hollywood movie director Carmen Marrón about her upcoming Latino-focused film, and her advice to Latinitas on how to chase your dreams! Carmen… Read more

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Latinas in Government & Law

March is Women’s History Month. To celebrate, Latinitas has decided to feature the wonderful and revolutionary women in history who have increased the representation of Latinas in government, politics and law. Sonia Sotomayor Sonia Sotomayor is the first Latina Justice appointed to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States. She was born on… Read more

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Leading Latina: Rosa Rios Valdez

Written by Prakriti Bhardwa The passion that Rosa Rios Valdez has for economic development is astounding. For the last 24 years, Rosa has worked tirelessly to build BCL of Texas, a statewide nonprofit, from the ground up, helping establish BCL as one of Texas’s most prominent lenders and non-profit organizations. She was there from the beginning,… Read more

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Latina Spotlight: Cadet Jessica Soto

She is a fighter, a believer, a college athlete, an Army Cadet, and she is a Latina.  She is one of the few to take on a journey that most, if not all, would consider to be rare and irrational. Cadet Jessica Soto was born on April 29, 1995 in El Paso, Texas. She grew up in… Read more

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Leading Latina: Melody Gonzales

Melody Gonzales is the Presidential Appointments Program Director for the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA), a coalition of 36 of the pre-eminent Latino civil rights, non-profit and advocacy organizations in the nation. Originally from San Diego, CA, Melody attended the University of California San Diego. When she was growing up, she knew that she always… Read more

Photo Credit: Runnersworld.com

Latina Athlete Spotlight: Brenda Martinez

Brenda Martinez is from Rancho Cucamongo, California, 25 years old and is a Mexican-American. She was the only Latina on the national track and field team for the USA since 2012. How It Began Her passion for running began when she was five years old. Her parents placed her in a track club at this… Read more

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Inspirational Famous Latinas

Celebrities play a major role in society, whether people realize it or not. They are on our TV and phone screens, on the covers of newspapers and magazines, and talked about constantly on social media. Though sometimes the media can spotlight the negativity in Hollywood, the positive strides that certain Latinas make in our society… Read more

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Ellen Ochoa is Out of This World

Ellen Ochoa is a Latina who has impressed the world with her intelligence and ambition. A California native, she studied physics at San Diego State University and graduated in 1980 with a bachelor of science degree. A short year later, she graduated from Stanford University with a masters of science degree in electrical engineering. If… Read more

Sorjuana

Our Warrior, Sor Juana

Thanks to all the feminist movements of the past, today women around privileged countries have an opportunity to pursue their educational goals. One of the first feminists in history, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, fought to have her voice heard. Sor Juana Ines was born in a time when women were voiceless. She was… Read more

Photo by JDF Films

Klassy the Chica Lyricist

A brand new MC from Los Angeles, CA is taking over the L.A. rap scene. An MC describes a word rapper in the hip hop scene, but the term is not limited to the word play of hip hop. Klassy is a 17 year old Filipino chica who began her career in the ninth grade. Her… Read more

My Diary

Photo Credit: Sofia Villarreal

Without Dance, What’s the Pointe?

From my first performance in a hula girl ensemble at the age of two, to my most recent dance endeavor as a part of a hip-hop crew in college, dance has been an inextricable part of my life for eighteen years now. When I reflect on my childhood and young adult life before college, most… Read more

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Diary of a First-Time Voter

On October 31, 2012, I voted for the very first time. I was so excited I chose to do it the long way selecting each candidate instead of a straight party ballot. I even saved the neat little sticker with the Presidential seal and the year on it. I knew that the fact that I… Read more

Latina College Graduate - Latinitas

Diary of a College Graduate

Diary of a College Graduate: The End of a Five-Year JourneyFor the past five years, I have been a college student majoring in Spanish and minoring in Education. This May, my journey ended because I finally graduated and received my Bachelor of Arts at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). Looking Up to a… Read more

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Diary: I Confronted My Attacker

I was sexually assaulted by my father’s brother when I was eight years old.  I didn’t understand what he was doing to me at the time.  It wasn’t until I was a sophomore in high school that I told someone.  My secret was out FINALLY.  My family’s reaction was not what I expected.  They said… Read more

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Diary: My Sister Has Autism

Growing up my life has been a little different from the lives of others. I’ve grown up with a loving mother, a caring father, and a very special sister. We live in complete happiness and fight almost all the average day to day tasks that everyone else faces. What makes my life so different? My… Read more

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Diary: Coming to America

“We are going to live in El Paso in one month,” my mom told me one night in May. It was my senior year of high school and my mom decided to come move to the border town of El Paso, Texas from my hometown of Chihuahua, Mexico.  One night in May, they tried to kidnap… Read more

Dream Act Activists

Diary of a DREAMer

Name: Edilsa Lopez Age: 21 Hometown: Born in Guatemala There’s nothing ordinary about Edilsa Lopez. An accomplished and heavily involved college student, Edilsa has had to endure struggles that few college students face. Arriving undocumented to the U.S at the age of 12 from her native country Guatemala, Edilsa learned a new language and adapted… Read more

Teen Mom Diary

Guadalupe Dill was just 16 when she became pregnant with her first child, Ashley. Guadalupe’s parents divorced when she was just four-years-old. In a family of seven living brothers and four sisters, she was the second youngest of the twelve. Soon after Guadalupe’s father left the house, her Mother’s partner moved in and tried to… Read more

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Diary of an Exchange Student

Editor’s Note: The following is a two-part reading of diary excerpts from a German student, Josi, who came to live in Austin, Texas as part of a student exchange program. This type of international program allows high school students to live in a foreign country for a semester or two. Usually, there are organizations that… Read more

God, I’m Christian and Gay

There are times when I look at the Bible and cry because I know that lesbianism isn’t what you want for me. There’s times when I just cry because I know you may hate me for it. I know you want me to be a happy girl. I know you want me to grow up… Read more

Superstars

Music

Girl power at Pachanga Fest

Another success for Pachanga Latino Music Festival! On May 14-16 the music event and Austin cultural staple expanded to include cities Dallas and Houston for the first time. Last year Pachanga proved a huge hit when crowds flocked to see singer Julieta Venegas  and this year, its 8th year running, the fest continued to draw crowds… Read more

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Mexican Girl Genius

Paloma Noyola Bueno has been called a genius and the “next Steve Jobs.” In 2013 Wired magazine, a popular American publication that covers technology and business, compared this Mexican girl to the technology innovator Steve Jobs. The magazine compared the ten-year-old Paloma Noyola Bueno to the creator of Apple, proclaiming her technological and mathematical genius…. Read more

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Girls in Sports

Young Latinas are showcasing their athletic power, strength and competitive side in a wide range of sports. Girls are making a mark on the wrestling mat, golf course, soccer field, dance stage and many other sports arenas. Joining a sport has many benefits such as staying in shape, being healthy, learning how to work in… Read more

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Leslie Perez, 20 Latinitas Under 20

Name: Leslie Perez Age: 17 Heritage: Mexican-American Hometown: Galveston, Texas Volunteer Experience: She is heavily involved in her community in numerous ways. She is the president of Galveston’s Lulac organization youth council #12. She is a church volunteer at Strong Tower Christian church and was crowned Outstanding teen United Southern States 2010 as well as Miss Galveston… Read more

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Celia Hernandez, 20 Latinitas Under 20

Name: Celia Hernandez Age: 18 Heritage: Mexican Hometown: South Gate, California Volunteer Experience: Celia Hernandez has been a part of the arc Leadership Council since she entered high school. She quickly gravitated toward our civic and arts programs. Throughout her high school career Celia has helped organize various volunteer projects. I met her during her sophomore… Read more

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Dominique Gonzalez, 20 Latinitas Under 20

Name: Dominique Gonzalez Heritage: Mexican-American Hometown: El Paso, Texas Volunteer Experience: Most of the volunteer experience she has is with Latinitas. Because  she is so passionate about the Latinitas mission to empower young Latinas, she decided to devote much of her time volunteering with this organization. Other than being a part of the Youth Editorial Advisory Board,… Read more

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Geneva Marie Salinas 20 Latinitas Under 20

Geneva Marie Salinas, age 16 Hometown: Corpus Christi, TX Nominated By: LULAC Council #1 Feria De las Flores Volunteer Experience: She currently volunteers at Driscoll Children’s Hospital in Corpus Christi, Texas. As of this summer, she has volunteered given over 270 hours to the hospital in the past year.  She is also a Youth Leader… Read more

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Emma Hernandez 20 Latinitas Under 20

Name: Emma Hernandez Organization: Latino/a Youth Collective of Indiana Age: 18 Hometown: Indianapolis, Indiana Volunteer Experience: Emma is an outstanding speaker and leader. She talks and leads from her heart and mind.  People listen attentively to her because they know something especially insightful and well expressed will be gained. People sense Emma’s intelligence and her… Read more

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Michelle Deaver-Arce 20 Latinitas Under 20

Name: Michelle Deaver-Arce College: McCallum Fine Arts Academy Age: 17 Hometown: Austin, Texas Honors: In 2010, Michelle was the youngest Artist (accepted by a Jury) to participate in the East Austin Studio Tour of over 400 artists.  She has been commissioned by the Austin Classical Guitar Society to create a painting based on of one… Read more

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Cyndi Jimenez 20 Latinitas Under 20

Name: Cyndi Jimenez Organization: Workers Defense Project Age: 19 Hometown: Austin, Texas Volunteer Experience: As a youth member of a social justice advocacy organization Workers Defense Project (WDP), Cyndi has taken on a leadership role that rivals many of the adult members. She has run employment rights trainings in front of construction workers twice her… Read more

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