Dyker Darshall Edwards Duarte Student, Schenectady Community College
How did you get to where you are today? For the first three years of my life I spent it my home country Costa Rica, where my mom would later give me to my dad for a better life in the states. As I grew older my dad made sure to always teach me the value of life by making lessons off of everything whether it was studying, sports, future, or just life in general and to never forget where you came from. Having this introduce to me early was never something I could understand it was just something I had to do because well my dad said so. But as I grew older I learn the concept of life ,work hard for something and you'll get it and also don't forget where you come from just as my dad had reminded me at a younger age. I applied that to my studies and sports which would later on help me to become a sectional champ in my home town Schenectady in wresting, only the 3rd person to do it in school history. Now in college I carry the same mission of working hard, and having intentions on becoming an attorney. Who has been the most influential person in your life and why? My dad as well as my grandmother both share their past experiences to guide me to a great future always remember where you come from Pura Vida. How did you decide on your college major OR the career you have chosen? and how do you see your choice as an opportunity to help your community? I decided on my college major simply because the court of law lacks blacks too many court cases that showed a strong form of bias or bigotry.I feel like my choice has an opportunity to help the community because I could should that Schenectady's not all bad there's a lot of hidden potential that needs guidance. What is your Latino / Hispanic Heritage? Costa Rican Best memory of growing up. Graduating high school Best memory of a day at school or work. Best memory at school had to be the last week of my high school year knowing that the door was closing and a new door was approaching Best day ever. Graduation day having my grandmother my uncle my dad family friends my friends all gather together to celebrate the four years of hard work. Where did you go to College and what was your focus/major OR what College are you attending and what is your major? I'm attending Schenectady community college and will later transfer to UAlbany where I will continue to study criminal justice Best book you ever read. Artemis Fowl the Eternity Code Favorite quote? Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome. -Arthur Ashe Favorite sports team. Minnesota Vikings (football) Favorite song. One in a million (Aaliyah), Red ops (21 savage) Message you would share with all young Latinos reading your story. Make sure you never forget where you came from, embrace your culture and pass me the platanos.
Dania Raquel Flores Business Services Representative New York State Department of Labor
How did you get to where you are today? A little bit about myself: In 1985, I was born in what was the middle of the civil war in El Salvador. I survived the earthquake that hit the country in 1987. In 1989, my parents brought me to the USA, the country I now call home. I grew up in Huntington Station (Long Island) and moved upstate in 2001, shortly before the September 11 attacks. After graduating high school I attended SUNY Ulster, assisted in the admissions department, and then worked in the Mid Hudson Health and Safety Institute. There I became involved in child passenger safety and participated in many events as for a while the only Spanish speaking technician. There I assisted farm workers in making sure that their children had child safety seats and were secured properly so that they could travel safely. Following there, I transferred to Mount Saint Mary College and there I became Latino Student Union vice president and later president. Towards the end of my college career I obtained an internship as a recruiter at Adecco Staffing, and changed my degree. In December of 2008 I completed my degree and in February of 2009 I started working for NYSDOL at a local office in Newburgh and I continue to do so, but now in Albany, at NYSDOL's headquarters. Who has been the most influential person in your life and why? I have had many influential people in my life and I can't name just one. For starters there was an Italian lady named Anita Pollack, she took the time to mentor, educate, and empower me so that I could get through school. Also, an uncle of mine, Jorge Alas, he was able to guide me to obtain funding for my college education via HEOP. Besides that, the many teachers, co-workers, and mentors, that I gained along the way. How did you decide on your college major OR the career you have chosen? and how do you see your choice as an opportunity to help your community? At first I wanted to be a Spanish teacher with a Special Education and English Language Learner background. I wanted to help students to learn my native tongue and teach ELL's the English language. Though I wasn't able to complete the degree, I changed majors and ended up in recruiting. Now I work for NYS Department of Labor and assist customers that speak Spanish as well as any Spanish speaking business owners when they contact NYSDOL. What is your Latino / Hispanic Heritage? El Salvadoran (Salvadoreña) Best memory of growing up. The best memories are from being able to travel to my homeland and returning to the USA with more knowledge of the Spanish language and my culture. Best memory of a day at school or work. Being voted for and becoming the vice president of the SGA at Ulster County Community College (SUNY Ulster) and later becoming the VP and the Student Trustee rep on the board of trustees. Best day ever. There are a few days: 1st, Graduating High School / 2nd, Graduating College / 3rd, Getting married Where did you go to College and what was your focus/major OR what College are you attending and what is your major? My initial major was education with a specification in Spanish Education, Special Ed, and ELL, but I graduated with a degree in Arts & Letters in Hispanic Studies with a minor in Business. Best book you ever read. Any book written by Isabel Allende also a few good reads have been: "Why A students work for C students, and B students work for the Government" - Robert T Kyosaki / "The Millionaire Next Door" - William D. Danko, Thomas J. Stanley Favorite quote? "Almost every successful person begins with two beliefs: The future can be better than the present, and I have the power to make it so." - Unknown Favorite sports team. F.C. Barecelona (Soccer) Favorite song. "Don't Stop Believing" - Journey / "I'm a Survivor" - Destiny's Child / "Stronger: - Kelly Clarkson / "It's My Life" - Bon Jovi Message you would share with all young Latinos reading your story. The road to success is made up of intertwining and labyrinths that at times may make you feel like you are going in circles and going nowhere. Always look toward the light at the end of the tunnel and always keep your chin up. The road is not straight but always keep sight of where you want to be. If you do have to change your goals or your mission changes, don't blame yourself, instead take the opportunity to move into something different and slay it. Opportunities come and go but if you don't know how to choose the right ones you may never get out of a bad place, always choose the hardest path even if it means moving away from friends and family to create a better future for yourself. The pain is temporary and the gains will outweigh the temporary sacrifice. Surround yourself with people that believe in you and can guide you towards bettering yourself. If you can't find guidance at home, ask teachers, clergy, anyone that can mentor you, and you will grow as a person and become a better you. Life has different ways of throwing bullets at you, but if you can take the bullets and come out on top, you will reach more in life than you can imagine. Keep going strong and Don't Give Up!
Pablo Leon Student, Hartwick College Biology Major Education Minor
How did you get to where you are today? My parents encouraged me to work hard from the beginning. I went to private middle school where classes were a little advanced, and that transitioned over to high school, where I continued to work hard academically. I took courses that challenged me throughout high school, even though I didn't necessarily need to in order to graduate. One of my classmates' parents was the founder of the South End Children's Cafe, which is how I ended up volunteering there. My hard work in high school earned me a scholarship, which is how I am able to currently attend Hartwick College. Who has been the most influential person in your life and why? Dr. Wells, my high school biology teacher, has been one of the most influential people in my life. He made biology fun and interesting, enough for me to decide that I would dedicate my life to researching and teaching it. How did you decide on your college major OR the career you have chosen? and how do you see your choice as an opportunity to help your community? I enjoyed high school biology enough that I decided it could be my career, but I also enjoyed teaching it to fellow classmates. During my gap year volunteering at the South End Children's Cafe, I also enjoyed helping kids with their homework. I decided I could help the community by first doing important research, and then when I felt like I'd done enough, I would teach kids. Or I may even go straight to teaching kids science and biology. I'm not sure yet, but I know I want to teach at some point in my life. What is your Latino / Hispanic Heritage? My father is from Lima, Peru, making me half Peruvian. Best memory of growing up. When I was 5 or 6, my cousin Eduardo came to live with my family for a while. He taught me how to juggle a little, and showed me how to play video games. That was one of the best times of my childhood. Best memory of a day at school or work. One day in my senior year of high school, the seniors were allowed to manage a whole day of games for the younger kids with a theme. We picked Mario as our theme, and I got to dress up as Mario, complete with the hat. Best day ever. My 18th birthday was possibly the best day I ever had. Although I was initially reluctant to celebrate it with more than family, it was nice to invite and celebrate with many people who were important in my life. Where did you go to College and what was your focus/major OR what College are you attending and what is your major? I am attending Hartwick College and majoring in Biology and minoring in Education. Best book you ever read.2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke is possibly one of the best science fiction books I have read. Favorite quote? "In the end? Nothing ends, Adrian. Nothing ever ends." - Doctor Manhattan/Jon Osterman, Watchmen Favorite sports team. Peru's national soccer team. Favorite song. "Learning to Relax" by Dan Deacon. Message you would share with all young Latinos reading your story. Work hard on everything, and give it your all. Even if you don't succeed, you know you did your best.
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