Dia de la Mujer Inspires USF Latina Community

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In the fifth grade, Celina Rodriguez knew she wanted to become a journalist. Growing up in Mexico, she was told she could not do it because it was a difficult career path and a hard environment to work in.

She is now a news anchorwoman for Telemundo/KSTS-TV, a Spanish-language television network in the United States. By following your dreams, Rodriguez said, you “live your career with passion, no matter the time.”

Rodriguez was one of three speakers who came to USF on Nov. 18 to speak at “Dia de la Mujer,” a signature event hosted by Latinas Unidas (LU), a student organization on campus.

Every year, LU invites Latina speakers to the event to inspire students in higher education. This year, LU invited three Latina women from the SF-Bay Area community to share their stories of overcome struggles in the face of adversity.

Rodriguez, on the one-hand, shared her experience as a minority in the world of journalism.

Vanessa Lopez, a freshman who attended the event, said “Celina Rodriguez is very influential. They [people] told her she couldn’t do journalism but she did.”

According to Rodriguez, she rediscovered her interest in journalism when applying for colleges. Her career in the Bay Area began when she received a John S. Knight Fellowship at Stanford University. Rodriguez said her professional success entailed “lots of personal sacrifices.”

LU also invited Alejandra Rincon, author of “Si Se Puede: Undocumented Students in Higher Education.” Rincon talked about undocumented immigrants in the country. She works with the Houston Unified School District in Texas to pass legislation so that undocumented high school graduates can attend college with in-state rates.

Rincon pursued her career because she thought it was a shame that high school graduates weren’t pursuing higher education; she said there is so much people can do for the immigrant community.

Born in Colombia, Rincon faced discrimination from a non-Spanish speaker in the Political Science Department at the University of Houston; she originally wanted to pursue a Master’s degree in Political Science. After that ordeal, she switched to Sociology.
USF Assistant Professor Karina Hodoyan, who teaches Modern & Classical Languages and Spanish,  USF assistant professor, told audience members to become an inspiration. “We can develop understanding within and out of the community.”

For Hodoyan, she was inspired by Latino and Chicano writers who spoke about their experiences and diverse roots. Working at the Department of Modern & Classical Languages, Hodoyan said, “More than ever we need bridges between languages and culture.”

Juanita Rodriguez, President of LU, is proud of “Dia de la Mujer.” She said, “every year it grows. We grow with the community and strive for the better.”

Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy

Chief Copy-Editor: Burke McSwain

News Editor: Ericka Montes

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