Things That Matter

These Graduation Photos Of Latinas Will Motivate You To Continue Reaching

Babes! Graduation season is upon us, and what does that mean? It’s time for one hell of a fiesta! But in all seriousness, it’s also a good time for us to think about what it means for Latinas – for some, this is the first time someone in their family is graduating from university. For others, it’s a chance to change the trajectory of their life. So, without further ado, read on to see these world-changers getting the most out of their graduation … and maybe get some outfit ideas for your own si se puede graduation.

1. Sometimes graduation means setting an example.

Instagram / @_daisssyyy_

It doesn’t get much more inspiring than this: “My culture, my brown skin. Our food. The language. Todo tan hermoso. The struggles of being brown. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’m proud to identify as Mexicana, Chicana, but most importantly, CHINGONA … being Latina for me is being a strong woman. If you have a dream … don’t ever let anyone take it away. Always believe that the impossible is possible … my ancestors went through hell so I wouldn’t have to, best believe I’m going to make a difference.”

2. For others, graduation is about being the first in the family to finish school.

Instagram / @gp_portraits

Although considering all the stress and tears that go into getting the degree, it can sometimes feel like the entire family should get an award for putting up with it!

3. Pets are an important part of graduation, too.

Instagram / @_ericaaaa5

Maybe your fur baby is your motivation for going to school. Or, maybe they just knew when you needed cuddles to get you through the next assignment. Whatever it is, the fact of the matter is that you’re probably going to want photos with your pets, since they’re part of the family, too!

4. Graduation is a good time to look back and see how far you’ve come.

Instagram / @cafe.c.leche

These days it feels like once we’ve hit a milestone, we just start looking for the next goal to aim for. But, graduation is the best time to take a deep breath and enjoy the view. You’ve made it!

5. It’s time to celebrate in your own way!

Instagram / @bettyy_aceituno

If this means breaking out the bottles of expensive champagne and jumping into a fountain with your grad gear on, then so be it! Let your hair down since you’ve earned it just as much as this babe, a “first generation, daughter of immigrants, Latina graduate.”

An educated Latina knows she has no limits. 💫

wearemitu.com

Get the pin here!

6. Sure looks aren’t everything, but grad gives you a hella good excuse to dress up!

Instagram / @photoxkim

Babes, this is the time to wear the heels, splurge on the makeup, get your hair done and enjoy the ride. You’ve earned it, and you should look and feel good on the big day. It is your day, after all!

7. Graduation isn’t just about you finishing study – your friends are, too!

Instagram / @alix_carolina

Here’s some food for thought from this graduate: “Today has been such an overwhelming day of emotions. I’m grateful for the experience, even the sleepless nights, headaches, sweat and tears because I was able to achieve something I almost thought impossible. Thank you to everyone who made classes a little more bearable and I’m grateful for all the lifelong friendships I made along the way.” 

8. Sometimes grad is not only a celebration of what you’ve become but also who you’ve been all along.

Instagram / @carolina_grads

It’s worth knowing that you can defy the stereotype – and that just because you’ve immigrated doesn’t mean that you’re not able to learn and adapt, and grow as a person.

9. Graduation is definitely a time to be silly.

Instagram / @natdeegee

Sure, graduation is one hell of a milestone. But does that mean you have to be completely serious about it? Nope. Now is the time to raise your arms, dance, sing, laugh, and soak in the joy of seeing the payoff after working so hard.

10. Remember: you’re a graduate, an opportunity awaits you.

Instagram / @tvg1407

How does the saying go? “Good things come to those who work hard”? This is one graduate who knows what that really means: “My academic journey began nearly 7 years ago, but my life journey began 22 years ago. My mother, brother, and I came to the United States when I was five years old. I had absolutely no idea what was in store for me, for us … as the years flashed before my eyes, I’ve come to a realization that my mother sacrificed everything she had, our family back home, and worked tirelessly and endless hours to open a pathway to my “American Dream”. I had no choice but to give it my all with the resources that I had because my parents provided me with more than I could have asked for. “Sorry I can’t” does not belong in my vocabulary … and this is WHY I am standing before you in a picture, on your news feed holding my college degree; I graduated with HONORS. I am a proud immigrant who is accomplishing her “American Dream”. Si se puedo!”

11. Who can forget that graduation means designing your cap?

Instagram / @melissaborrego

“From migrant workers to a college graduate in two generations. What can I say, hard work is in my blood.” Your cap can have as much, or as little, as you want on it: it’s yours. In this case, it’s easy to see that this graduate has owned it: the painstaking details have paid off, and she has one jaw-dropping cap that’s both beautiful, and personal.

12. Graduation is also about being able to make your parents proud.

Instagram / @kcsilv

And in this case, thanking them for everything and sharing the moment with them, too.

13. Remember to bask in the spotlight.

Instagram / @alopaloful

Sure, your face is going to be aching by the end of the day from all the smiling, but if you wanted to get a good headshot or some Insta-worthy pics, this is the time for it! Every man and his dog will be getting photos of you, so this is the perfect opportunity to go all out and pose like you’re Selena Gomez on the red carpet.

14. Now is the time to stand out from the crowd.

Instagram / @rosanegra43_

No-one’s journey at university has been the same. This is your time to own it. Fresh out of school, you can set yourself apart from the rest with your smarts, solid work ethic, and boss time management skills. The world is your oyster!

15. If there’s anything you have learned, it’s to embrace who you are.

Instagram / @mariarojanohair

Daughter of an immigrant? Doesn’t matter. Well, it does matter, but not in the way you’d think. What matters is whether you show up, do what you need to do, and snap up the reward while everyone else is left reeling from your brilliance.

On a scale of one to ten, just how excited are you to be graduating? Let us know about it on Twitter – you can find it by clicking on the logo at the top of the page.

6. Sure looks aren’t everything, but grad gives you a hella good excuse to dress up!

Instagram / @photoxkim

Babes, this is the time to wear the heels, splurge on the makeup, get your hair done and enjoy the ride. You’ve earned it, and you should look and feel good on the big day. It is your day, after all!

7. Graduation isn’t just about you finishing study – your friends are, too!

Instagram / @alix_carolina

Here’s some food for thought from this graduate: “Today has been such an overwhelming day of emotions. I’m grateful for the experience, even the sleepless nights, headaches, sweat and tears because I was able to achieve something I almost thought impossible. Thank you to everyone who made classes a little more bearable and I’m grateful for all the lifelong friendships I made along the way.” 

8. Sometimes grad is not only a celebration of what you’ve become but also who you’ve been all along.

Instagram / @carolina_grads

It’s worth knowing that you can defy the stereotype – and that just because you’ve immigrated doesn’t mean that you’re not able to learn and adapt, and grow as a person.

9. Graduation is definitely a time to be silly.

Instagram / @natdeegee

Sure, graduation is one hell of a milestone. But does that mean you have to be completely serious about it? Nope. Now is the time to raise your arms, dance, sing, laugh, and soak in the joy of seeing the payoff after working so hard.

10. Remember: you’re a graduate, an opportunity awaits you.

Instagram / @tvg1407

How does the saying go? “Good things come to those who work hard”? This is one graduate who knows what that really means: “My academic journey began nearly 7 years ago, but my life journey began 22 years ago. My mother, brother, and I came to the United States when I was five years old. I had absolutely no idea what was in store for me, for us … as the years flashed before my eyes, I’ve come to a realization that my mother sacrificed everything she had, our family back home, and worked tirelessly and endless hours to open a pathway to my “American Dream”. I had no choice but to give it my all with the resources that I had because my parents provided me with more than I could have asked for. “Sorry I can’t” does not belong in my vocabulary … and this is WHY I am standing before you in a picture, on your news feed holding my college degree; I graduated with HONORS. I am a proud immigrant who is accomplishing her “American Dream”. Si se puedo!”

11. Who can forget that graduation means designing your cap?

Instagram / @melissaborrego

“From migrant workers to a college graduate in two generations. What can I say, hard work is in my blood.” Your cap can have as much, or as little, as you want on it: it’s yours. In this case, it’s easy to see that this graduate has owned it: the painstaking details have paid off, and she has one jaw-dropping cap that’s both beautiful, and personal.

12. Graduation is also about being able to make your parents proud.

Instagram / @kcsilv

And in this case, thanking them for everything and sharing the moment with them, too.

13. Remember to bask in the spotlight.

Instagram / @alopaloful

Sure, your face is going to be aching by the end of the day from all the smiling, but if you wanted to get a good headshot or some Insta-worthy pics, this is the time for it! Every man and his dog will be getting photos of you, so this is the perfect opportunity to go all out and pose like you’re Selena Gomez on the red carpet.

14. Now is the time to stand out from the crowd.

Instagram / @rosanegra43_

No-one’s journey at university has been the same. This is your time to own it. Fresh out of school, you can set yourself apart from the rest with your smarts, solid work ethic, and boss time management skills. The world is your oyster!

15. If there’s anything you have learned, it’s to embrace who you are.

Instagram / @mariarojanohair

Daughter of an immigrant? Doesn’t matter. Well, it does matter, but not in the way you’d think. What matters is whether you show up, do what you need to do, and snap up the reward while everyone else is left reeling from your brilliance.

On a scale of one to ten, just how excited are you to be graduating? Let us know about it on Twitter – you can find it by clicking on the logo at the top of the page.

At Only 8 Years-Old, This Little Mexicana Has a Higher IQ Than Einstein and is an Aspiring Astronaut

Fierce

At Only 8 Years-Old, This Little Mexicana Has a Higher IQ Than Einstein and is an Aspiring Astronaut

@PuenteLibre / Twitter

The Latinidad has been blessed with it’s fair share of geniuses. Carlos Juan Finlay, the Cuban physician who first linked yellow fever to mosquitoes, used his brains to save countless lives in the developing world. For American engineer Ellen Ochoa, the first Latina female astronaut, her genius took her all the way to the stars. Frida Kahlo, one of the most recognizable figures of the 20th century, used her genius with a paintbrush to create art that still resonates with viewers today. However, all of these people were definitely already adults when they were recognized for their gifts. The newest member to join their genius ranks is considerablly much younger.

Though she is just 8 years-old, Adhara Pérez already boasts a genius level I.Q. in the triple digits.

Twitter / @adn40

A native of Mexico City, Adhara has a measured I.Q. of 162. To put this into perspective, two of the worlds most famous geniuses, Albert Einstein and Stephan Hawking, each had an estimated I.Q. of 160. According to the “Yucatan Times,” the gifted Latina has already finished school, having passed elementary at 5 years-old and completing middle and high school by the age of 8. Adhara is now in the process of earning two degrees online, in industrial engineering in mathematics and in systems engineering respectively. She’s hoping to one day become an astronaut and colonize Mars.

Besides sailing through grade school in a quarter of the time it usually takes, the child prodigy has been busy with other projects. She has already written her first book, called “Don’t Give Up,” that tells her story of growing up as a girl genius. She has also appeared on several television talk shows and participated in different academic presentations involving space.

While her I.Q. is being celebrated now, it wasn’t recognized by her teachers and fellow students at first.

Twitter / @NMinutosMx

When Adhara was 3 years-old, she was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, a condition that falls on the autism spectrum. One of the defining symptoms of the developmental disorder is difficulties with social interactions and relating to other people. It was around this time that Adhara was experiencing bullying from her classmates. According to the “Yucatan Times” the other students at school called the little genius names like “oddball” and “weirdo.”

Nallely Sanchez, Adhara’s mother, recalled seeing first hand the cruel treatment the other kids inflicted on her daughter.

“I saw that Adhara was playing in a little house and they locked her up. And they started to chant: ‘Oddball, weirdo!’ And then they started hitting the little house,” she told the “Yucatan Times.” “So I said, ‘I don’t want her to suffer.'”

At that tender age, the teasing already proved to have a horrible impact on young Adhara’s mental health.

Twitter / @marisolglzz

According to her interview with the “Yucatan Times,” Sanchez says that her daughter began to experience a “very deep depression” and no longer wanted to go to school. Adhara’s teachers told her mother that the unhappy student began sleeping in class and put no effort or interest into her classwork. This was obviously not for lack of understanding the work.

Sanchez knew that her daughter already had mastery over algebraic knowledge and the periodic table so she was sure that the problem Adhara was having wasn’t an academic one. She decided to seek a therapist for her daughter in hopes of helping her. A psychiatrist they visited recommended that the mother and daughter go to a local education assistance center for further testing. That’s when her genius I.Q. was identified and she began her quick transition through school.

While she was once bullied for being different, her extraordinary genius has gained her notoriety from fans all over the world.

Twitter / @aideefrescas

This year, Adhara was named one of “Forbes” Magazine’s 100 Mujeres Poderosas de México. She shares this honor with some majorly talented and powerful women such as Irene Espinosa (Deputy Governer of the Bank of Mexico), Alejandra Frausto (Secretary of Culture) and Yalitza Aparicio (the breakout star of “Roma.”)

Twitter has been sure to shower the little genius with lots of praise as well. Some Twitter users expressed that Adhara’s parents must be very proud of of their daughter while others pointed out that this is exactly the reason why we shouldn’t bully people who think and act differently than us.

For now, the future appears bright for this little genius. According to “Vogue México,” Adhara is currently developing a smart bracelet for children with developmental conditions that will monitor their emotions to anticipate and prevent issues. She is currently studying English in perpetration for entrance exams in the United States. The Latina hopes to one day attend University of Arizona to study astrophysics.

This Latina Used Her Business Savvy to Launch An App That Helps Undocumented Students Find Financial Aid

Things That Matter

This Latina Used Her Business Savvy to Launch An App That Helps Undocumented Students Find Financial Aid

In senior year of high school, Sarahi Espinoza Salamanca was told by her school’s guidance counselor that her dream of attending a four-year college was not in the cards for her. Salamanca, who had just found out that she was undocumented, had worked up the courage to tell her counselor about her immigration status. Instead of the support she was looking for, she was instead met with a discouraging response. “…She said to me, ‘People like you don’t go to college,’” Salamanca recently told Remezcla. Salamanca, needless to say, was devastated. 

Unfortunately, due to Salamanca’s status as an undocumented immigrant, she wasn’t eligible for federal financial aid. And because Salamanca was one of 11 children, she didn’t have the financial means to pay for college out-of-pocket. According to Salamanca, the conversation with her guidance counselor broke her “into a million pieces”. “This was the moment where I lost all hopes of being the first in my family to go to college”. But in the end, Salamanca had the last laugh. 

Years later, Salamanca used this experience to inspire her to create “Dreamers Roadmap”–a free mobile app that helps undocumented students find financial aid for college. 

While Salamanca was unable to take the traditional educational route that many entrepreneurs take, she instead used her grit and business-savvy to commit to changing the system that had failed her. “It took me a while to realize that I was probably not the only one in this situation,” Salamanca told Forbes. Once she had that revelation, she decided it was up to her to fix the problem. Instead of taking the traditional four-year college route, Salamanca enrolled in community college and got to work building her own business.

First, Salamanca devoted herself to creating a blog that gave undocumented and low-income students information about scholarship opportunities. When realized that she was one of 3.6 million Dreamers in the U.S. who were unable to qualify for federal financial aid, Salamanca realized she had an un-tapped market on her hands. Deciding to go a step further, Salamanca decided to create an app specifically for undocumented students who were looking to fund their college education. Despite having no formal background in tech, she applied for tech competitions–like the 2013 Hackathon for Dreamers. She left that competition with renewed confidence in both her ideas and her leadership abilities. It was then that she committed to both bringing her app idea into fruition and taking on a role as CEO.

Spurred on by her initial success, Salamanca decided to try her hand at the Voto Latino Innovators Challenge in 2014.

At the time, Voto Latino (founded by Latina actress Rosario Dawson) had put out a call for “Millennial-led projects that will improve the lives of and expand opportunities for Latinos in the U.S.”. Taking a leap of faith Salamanca decided to apply for the priciest grant: $100,000. Although she had no idea if she’d win, she decided it was worth a try. ” I thought to myself, ‘Well if I win even half, that’s a huge win for my project'”. And it seems that Voto Latino recognized the potential of her project as well.

Salamanca was ultimately chosen as a finalist for the competition and entered the final rounds in Washington D.C. as the only community college student as well as the only sole-female founder. At the challenge, Salamanca pitched her project to a panel of all-star judges that included Rosario Dawson, America Ferrera, and Wilmer Valderrama. Apparently, Salamanca made an impression. Voto Latino gave “Dreamers Roadmap” a grant of $100,000 towards funding. 

Now that Sarahi Espinoza Salamanca is CEO of her own company, her future has never been brighter. 

Salamanca has come a long way from being told that college is “not for people like her”. Now, Dreamers Roadmap has over 30,000 users and is integral to the college-admission process for many undocumented students. Not only was Salamanca named a “Champion of Change” at the White House in 2014, but she also received a House of Representatives Award in 2015, and placed in Forbes’ prestigious 30 Under 30 list. Although she has encountered numerous obstacles in her life due to her ethnicity, gender, tax bracket, and immigration status, she has overcome them all through determination and perseverance. 

But more than any of these other accomplishments, it’s the impact she’s had on people’s lives that is the most impressive. To date, Dreamers Roadmap has helped over 20,000 students find scholarships for college. “We hear from our users via social media or email on how our app has changed their lives,” she said in an interview with Forbes. “Hearing their stories reminds me that we are doing a good job and fulfilling our mission of bringing hope and financial opportunities to immigrant communities”.