Class of 2020: Latinas Who Inspire and Give Us Hope for the Future

BELatina Latinx Class of 2020

Today, Latinas stand for educaton and excellence — and they are changing the face of the nation.

According to the report Fulfilling America’s Future: LATINAS IN THE U.S., 2015, by Patricia Gándara, Professor of Education, UCLA and Co-Director, The Civil Rights Project and The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, “one in five women in the U.S. is a Latina” and “one in four female students in public schools across the nation is a Latina.” 

Although we are still fighting for equal pay, for Latinas, education equals progress. Hispanic females and femmes all across the United States are enrolling more than ever before in college to pursue a diploma. As reported by NBC News, millennial Latinas who obtained an associate, bachelor’s or graduate degree grew 70 percent over the past twenty years  — outpacing Latinos and non-Latina females in 56 and 35 percent respectively.

Is the future Latina?

One hundred percent we believe it is. If by 2026 Latinas become a third of the female population of the nation as Gándara stated , then the future of the US might be ethnically more balanced, culturally diverse, and with more academic breakthroughs. 

Latinas are not only aspiring to higher education, but they are also a growing workforce. The Latina Powering Report of 2019, revealed that for the first time in history Hispanic females dominated at 93%, compared to 71% for Hispanic males and 13% for non-Latinas, giving them buying power. 

Latinas buying power reached $1.5 trillion dollars just in 2018 with a projection of $1.9 trillion by 2023. According to the data, Hispanic women are in part responsible for the growth of the beauty industry, dining, and department store sectors, not only as a consumer but as investors. 

All these brave thinking like-minded women, inspire our Latinx community every single day. At BeLatina News, we believe that showcasing inspirational women will not only celebrate this monumental cultural shift, but also will inspire the upcoming generations to only seek greatness. 

Despite the critical times and that almost the entire world is paralyzed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we wanted to share our platform and highlight some graduates of the Class of 2020. All of these Latinas inspire, they  open their hearts, and share their challenges, successes with us and you. .

Jacqueline Aguilar

BELatina Latinx College Jaqueline Aguilar

Are you a first-generation graduate?

Yes! I am a first-generation graduate. 

Graduating from…

I will be graduating from Vintage High School Class of 2020.

Would you be continuing your education?

I am proudly continuing my education at Chico State University.

The greatest accomplishment for your college experience?

My great accomplishments for my college experience would be to earn my degree in nursing and finish off with my dream job.

Can you share your most challenging experience?

My most challenging experience of high school was experiencing my grandfather passing away my senior year while maintaining a job and going to cheer practice, during finals week of my first semester, and making sure I had gotten my college applications done on time.

What advice would you give to yourself on your first day of school?

A piece of good advice I will give myself would be to have great confidence in myself and believe that all good things take time and are all surely possible to achieve if I really want it. To never have doubts and always look at the positive in things. And always move forward.

Veronica Morales

Veronica Morales BELatina Latinx Class of 2020
Photo Credit Veronica Morales

Are you a first-generation graduate? 

Yes. I am a first-generation graduate.

 Graduating from…

I will graduate with a master’s degree in Education: Curriculum and Instruction from California State University Dominguez Hills (CSUDH). Additionally, I graduated from California State University Los Angeles (CSULA) where I received my bachelor’s degree in Communication Disorders. Lastly, I graduated from Santa Monica College (SMC) where I received my associate’s degree in Liberal Arts & Humanities. To me, It’s important to note my previous degrees and colleges because they all led me to higher education.

 Would you be continuing your education?

I think about this constantly. If I had the opportunity, yes, I’d continue my education. I know I can make the biggest difference in educational policy or research. However, right now I’m happy to be in a classroom where I can implement social justice and college readiness for my students.

 The greatest accomplishment for your college experience?

My greatest accomplishment from my college experience was discovering my identities: Firstborn, First Generation Graduate, Salvadoreña, Woman of Color, and Life-long Educator. These are identities no one can ever take away from me!

 Can you share your most challenging experience?

I experienced trauma during my childhood. When I was exposed to certain situations, I would have recurring memories of it. This caused anxiety and depression. For a long time, I hid it well. It wasn’t until one of my students experienced the same thing in detail. I broke down; my mind was not focused in school or life for that matter. Therefore, I began therapy and learned to manage those emotions better. Thankfully, my PTSD has been minimized. It didn’t define my success. In fact, it made me stronger!

 What advice would you give to yourself on your first day of school?

Make a commitment to yourself to grow! There will be challenges where you experience doubt, fear, or failure. Push through! Those challenges will be minimized once success comes. Remember, success can be found in small milestones, new friendships, or experiences. You define what success is!

Daniela Rivera

Daniela Rivera BELatina Latinx Class of 2020

Are you a first-generation graduate? 

I am a first-generation college student and proud! 

Graduating from…

I’m graduating from California State University, Fullerton. My major is Communications with a concentration in public relations and I am also receiving a Spanish for Hispanic Media Certificate.

Would you be continuing your education?

Still unknown. 

The greatest accomplishment for your college experience?

My mom and dad moved to the U.S. at a very young age. So for them, their biggest dream was for me to graduate and get my degree. To my parents, these 5 years felt like an eternity. It was time for me to transfer and I was accepted into 4 of the 5 universities that I applied to. The only university I didn’t get an acceptance at, was California State University, Fullerton. I called admissions and records to see why I didn’t get accepted and they told me to appeal it. However, I also believe that things are meant to happen, so I figured CSUF wasn’t for me. I accepted California State University, Los Angeles, and went to orientation. However, lo and behold, the next morning, I woke up to an acceptance letter from CSUF! I was ecstatic! Fast forward to now, I’m a graduating senior! I am proud of my hard work. Sleepless nights, early mornings, and some tears were shed. I worked hard to be the second person in my whole family to graduate with my Bachelor’s degree.

Can you share your most challenging experience?

Straight out of high school, I headed to Rio Hondo community college. I was there for 3 years. To be honest, I did not know in which direction I was going in. I went in thinking I wanted to study psychology. I then changed my major to sociology, it didn’t work out. I went back to psychology. I visited the academic advisors, I took all the counseling courses and exams that help match you with ideal careers. I was just…floating. I went through a breakup and after I got over my sadness, I decided to get my act together. I transferred to Fullerton College (also a community college) and I thrived. I felt like I had found my home. I took a public speaking class and I loved it. I researched communications and I decided, this is it. FINALLY. It took 5 years to get it together. 

What advice would you give to yourself on your first day of school?

Although I am not graduating how I hoped I would due to the pandemic, I am staying positive. I am not defined by a walk (although it would be nice). I am defined by my work ethic and perseverance. I am defined by my parents’ hard work and the hard work of the people who surround me. I hope that sharing my story can inspire other Latinas to never give up on their dreams, no matter how long it takes, they will find their way!