10 Reasons to Consider a Career in the STEM Fields

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Thinking about going for a career in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics? Now is the perfect time. STEM is a quickly growing and high paying area that is a great direction for new or graduating students to take. But is it really right for you? Check out these 10 reasons why you should consider making STEM your future career.

1). Cross-Marketability of Skills
It’s not like if you’re a biologist than you can suddenly go into theoretical physics, but the basic skills you learn are useful in many different professions. By studying to follow a field in science or technology you’ll be learning math, research methods, problem solving, and how to fill out mountains of paperwork. Many different jobs across all fields need that, which means you’re already qualified. If you decide to change jobs or have trouble finding one right away, you won’t be left out in the cold.

2). High Pay
Going into STEM isn’t just a great way to get a job. It’s also a way to get a high paying job. Studies have shown that 63 percent of people with a degree in STEM-related work get paid more than someone with a bachelor’s degree in anything else. More than that, 47 percent of people with a bachelor’s degree in a STEM field make more than people with a Ph.D. in other areas. Basically, you’ll be more likely to make lots of money than someone who majors in another field of study.

3). Job Availability
With this economy, you might be worried about how you’re going to get a job. Are there really that many jobs available to you? The short answer is yes. There are STEM jobs in numerous different fields ranging from research assistant to physics educator. More jobs are added all the time, so you’re never going to find a scarcity of positions for someone with your qualifications.

4). Less Competition
Even though there are plenty of jobs, there are still probably hundreds of people clamoring to get at them, right? Wrong. Every year 3.2 million jobs in the STEM fields go unfilled, mostly because there is no one qualified to fill them. By educating yourself and preparing to go into one of those jobs, you’ll be a head above the rest who don’t have what it takes to qualify.

5). Less of a Gender Gap
Ok, so maybe you’re a woman and are worried about that huge pay gap determined by gender. This is yet another way STEM can help with your life. Studies have shown that there is a much smaller salary gap between men and women in the STEM fields. It’s also got plenty of racial and gender diversity, so if you’re looking for equality in the workplace then look no further.

6). Basic Skills Won’t Get Obsolete
It’s true that technology is ever progressing, but the basics stay the same. The world will still need math and still need research. Because you have a basic knowledge of the scientific method, computers, essays or report writing and much more, you’ll be valuable no matter how things innovate. You’ll be more ready to adapt to the changes than people who have no experience in the field at all.

7). Innovation
All that innovation doesn’t just help you get a nice paycheck. It also helps others. You have the chance to work on the cutting edge of fields like medicine, computer technology, robotics, and more. If you have a humanitarian streak, what better way to show it than by gifting the world with your ability to innovate?

8). Better Classes
Right now the government is making a big push to get classes funded and available for STEM students. There are more varied classes in different areas and the funding in most states is better for STEM related classes. Given that half of high school students say they’re not going to go into STEM majors, you may also find that your classes are smaller, which gives you better access to professors and resources.

9). Everyday Critical Thinking
Being a problem solver in the classroom and at work can lead to you being a problem solver in life as well. Being trained in a STEM field can assist you in your everyday world and can even save you money. If you have a better grasp of computer engineering, maybe you won’t have to take your computer to the IT guys so often. If you’re a math wiz, doing your taxes might not be as big a bother. Besides, who else do your friends know that can make a potato cannon out of office supplies or a fighting robot from car parts?

10). Love
There is no better reason to go into a field than this. For some people, science, math, and technology are not just jobs. They’re a passion. If your career is something you enjoy doing, you’ll lead a happier and more productive life. You’ll be one of the few who doesn’t dread going to work every day and is able to brag about your job. Even if your grades weren’t the best, even if your pay isn’t as high as you’d like, pursuing what you love is a reward all its own.

Source: study.com

6 Things Interviewers Want Us to Know About Remote Interviews
LinkedIn
Concept of remote video with multiple images of business in a shared screen

by Eileen Hoenigman Meyer

In some ways, a remote job interview can seem like a welcome relief from the traditional format. You don’t have to worry about directions or getting stuck in traffic; plus, you only have to agonize over half an outfit.

But a remote meeting doesn’t earn you full access to the body language and social cues that your interviewers exhibit.

The social awareness and mores around remote interviews are still emerging for those on both sides of the interaction.

As you prepare for your next remote job interview, consider this inside scoop from several interviewers-their insights about what matters and what may be less important.

Small talk helps.

Chit chat breaks the ice and can help make a remote conversation feel comfortable. Come prepared with a couple of easy talking points to kick things off (a funny story, a sports reference, etc.).

Jonas Bordo, CEO, and co-founder of Dwellsy, explains: “I need to get to know you via zoom, which is hard. In the old days, we would have made small talk while we walked to the interview room, but we don’t get to do that anymore. All of that preliminary small talk is important – it’s in those conversations that you get to learn about me and me about you. Invest in that time, and don’t rush into interview questions.” Researching the company and your interviewer can help you generate material.

Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Remote interactions have their own unique brand of uncomfortable moments-glitches, freezes, etc. Please do your due diligence when it comes to tech and interview prep so that you’re prepared and practiced for your meeting. Know, however, that even when you’re well-prepared, meeting technology can be unreliable, which can leave you navigating some complexities off the cuff. “I know that remote interviews are awkward and a poor substitute for in-person interviews, but it’s best just to accept the awkwardness,” explains Calloway Cook, President of Illuminate Labs. “If you worry about an awkward pause or an accidental moment where you spoke over the interviewer due to a connection delay, it’s easy to get frazzled and have your actual interview responses become negatively impacted.”

Cook recommends, “Stay mission-focused, and make light of remote awkwardness whenever possible. Acing remote interviews requires more focus than acing in-person interviews, in my opinion, because there are so many external factors like connectivity that affect the dialogue.”

Adopt remote-friendly mores.

Another dimension that makes a remote interview challenging is that the social mores around these interactions don’t feel totally natural. Kevin Lee, CEO of JourneyPure, recommends:

“If there’s an awkward silence during the interview, don’t panic. It’s natural to have silences because you can’t rely on visual body language cues like you can in an in-person interview. If you’re done speaking, pause and let the interviewer pick up the conversation. Rushing to fill the silence may lead you to say something that you might not normally say or fill it up with chatter, which would let the interviewer know you are nervous about the interview. You may want to practice with a friend to learn how to manage awkward silences and find appropriate times for small talk during an online interview.”

Recognize it during other remote meetings when you’re involved, when you notice participants handling pauses well. Then mirror their approach. It’s a good way to stay controlled and calm during your interview.

Be authentic.

There’s often a feeling of obligation to overprepare when it comes to job interviews, leaving interviewees flustered if anything unexpected happens. When it comes to remote interviews, though, the unexpected happens often, even when prepared. Being anxious and rigid makes it more painful to weather these inevitable occurrences.

Erik Rivera, CEO of ThriveTalk, explains: “The best advice I can give anyone going into an online interview is to make the interview as candid and relaxed as possible. If you have a child who is likely to interrupt, tell your interviewer this at the beginning of the meeting! Similarly, if you’re expecting someone to come by, full disclosure is best.”

Rivera emphasizes the importance of the human touch. He explains: “Finally, treat your interviewer like a PERSON, as they are also in this COVID nightmare. Discuss what has been hard, what has been good, how crazy everything is. Humanity needs humanity now more than ever.”

Soft skills are a selling point.

Flexibility, adaptability, emotional intelligence, innovation, problem-solving, work ethic, and other soft skills are valuable. It’s not just that the process for interviewing has changed; the reality of work has changed post-COVID. Soft skills can help finesse a changing workplace. Showcase them.
Bordo, for example, emphasizes the importance of flexibility: “I interviewed a candidate recently who was working hard to keep a pacifier in a baby’s mouth, and it was awesome. I’ve seen kids, husbands, wives, and roommates walk through backgrounds. . . I even interviewed someone with a parrot on her shoulder for the entire interview. All of that is wonderful. But, if you can’t create an environment with enough peace that you can have an interview conversation, then I worry you can’t create that kind of environment for your work.”

A culture that fits your life.

Just as you would with a face-to-face interview, do your interview prep before your meeting. Learn about the organization and the professional culture as you think about presenting yourself for your interview.

Good luck!

Click here to read the original article posted on Glassdoor.

How to Apply for Higher Education Careers – Revised Edition
LinkedIn
How to Apply for Higher Education Careers promo

“How to Apply for Higher Education Careers – Revised Edition” is a free ebook for anyone interested in getting a job in higher education.

If you’re starting your career or considering a career change, this ebook dives into what’s needed to apply for higher ed jobs: understanding the difference between a curriculum vitae and a resume, drafting a career-change resume, and checking if your resume can pass the 10-second test. The revised edition includes cover letter writing tips and candid advice from higher ed professionals, including representatives in HR and recruiting.

Download the ebook for strategies to tackle that crucial early step of putting yourself out there to secure your ideal job in higher ed.

5 Current Keys to Success When Searching for a Job
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Job Search Laptop

By Debra Wheatman  

I have probably received more questions on the topic of conducting a job search in the current climate than I have on anything else in 2020. When the restrictions were first enacted, many people decided to go into a self-imposed holding pattern and shelve their job searches.

However, ongoing restrictions and contraction in the job market render this a nonviable option. So how do you search for a job amid the pandemic? Here are five strategies that can help you succeed.

Network. Networking remains the best way to find employment opportunities. The only difference is that networking has become almost entirely virtual. The good news is that you have more access to diverse networks than ever. Get on LinkedIn or Meetup and find people with common interests. Join groups that appeal to your goals, and interact with people and share your knowledge. Remember, don’t go into networking with the message, “I need a job. What can you do for me?” It’s a two-way street. Don’t just take; give as well.

Up your technology game. Have you been on a videoconference where someone’s Wi-Fi keeps cutting out? How about someone with poor lighting, making it look like they live in a basement, hiding from the feds? Yeah, no. Not a good look. Upgrade your internet, invest in a good webcam if your computer is sub-par, and consider a light ring to provide balanced lighting and show you in, well, the best light.

Look the part. We know you’re working from home. That doesn’t mean that you should show up for your virtual interview, looking as if you just rolled out of bed or came in from working in the garden. Dress the same as you would for an in-person interview.

Be specific about your goals. This is good advice outside of the pandemic as well. But it will be even more important than ever that you have an articulated and defined vision not only of what you’re looking for in your next role but what you can do for a potential employer. Why? Because everyone is on edge. And providing clarity will put people at ease and engender trust.

Manage your expectations. I’m hearing that the entire job search process is taking even longer than it was before restrictions when people were still doing in-person interviews. I think this is probably due to the heightened focus on proceeding with caution. A client recently had a first video screen with a new company and was told that the process would entail a one-on-one with the hiring manager, a series of four to five additional meetings with other team members, a presentation to the team, another one-on-one with the hiring manager, and finally, a meeting with the CEO.

Most importantly, be confident and proactive. Remember my number one piece of advice—job searching is not about YOU; it’s about how you can help an employer solve a pressing business problem. Approach your job search with that in mind, and tailor your tactics to reflect the current reality. Finally, the shining light at the end of the tunnel: it’s not a question of if you get a new role—only when.

Source: Careersdoneright.com

This 31-year-old quit her $150,000-a-year tech job to start an equal pay app: Here’s how she got started
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Christen Nino De Guzman, founder of Clara for CreatorsPhoto: Christen Nino De Guzman

By Christen Nino De Guzman, CNBC

I’ve always enjoyed working with content creators. At 31, I’ve helped launch creator programs at some of the biggest tech companies, including Instagram and Pinterest.

But it was frustrating to see the pay inequality that content creators constantly faced. So earlier this year, I decided to quit my $150,000-per-year job at TikTok to start a “Glassdoor-like” app called Clara for Creators.

Since launching, it has helped more than 7,000 influencers and content creators share and compare pay rates and review their experiences working with brands.

The pay gap in influencer marketing

Nowadays, there are very few barriers to becoming a content creator. With the popularity of TikTok, for example, you don’t need to invest hundreds or thousands of dollars in equipment; anyone can try to build an audience and monetize their platform with videos they shoot on a smartphone.

As a result, more and more creators have entered the business. The problem? They have little knowledge about how much money they could — or should — be making.

Content creator deals are tricky. How much you’re paid depends on the type of content you’re offering a brand and on what platform — an Instagram post versus a YouTube video, for example. Other factors include the size of your following, engagement metrics and success rates with previous partnerships.

To make matters even more complicated, brands often ask an influencer for their rate instead of offering everyone a base pay with room to negotiate.

Many creators end up selling themselves short, especially women and people of color. I once saw a man get paid 10 times what a woman creator was paid for the same campaign — just because he asked for more. I’ve also seen Latinx creators with triple the following of white creators be paid half as much.

How I started my mission-based business

I knew a major problem that creators faced was that they couldn’t Google how much money they could charge for marketing a product or service on their platform. That lightbulb moment — and how much I cared about the creators I worked with — inspired me to build Clara.

I wanted creators to be able to share reviews of brands they had worked with, along with how much they were paid for different types of content based on their number of followers.

In March 2021, I sent a bunch of cold messages to potential investors on LinkedIn. In July, after weeks of non-stop outreach that turned into more than 10 pitch meetings, I received a small investment from an individual investor. I used that money to contract a team of developers, who I worked alongside to build and test the app.

Clara finally launched for iOS in January this year. Within a month, without spending any money on advertisements, more than 7,000 creators signed up to share their rates on Clara, including top TikTok creators like Devon Rodriguez and Nancy Bullard, who each have 24.4 million and 2.9 million social media followers, respectively.

On January 14, I quit my job at TikTok as a creator program manager to work on Clara full-time. While I am taking a massive pay cut by leaving my 9-to-5, I’m living off money I make as a content creator and my savings.

Right now, I’m focused on raising capital to grow the platform. I’m also spreading the word about equal pay and how important resources like Clara are. l post career advice and other resources on my TikTok account, where I currently have 348,000 followers.

Get paid fairly: Know your rights and do your research

There are many things you can do to work towards greater pay equity for yourself and others in your industry.

When discussing pay with your coworkers, it’s important to know your rights. Some corporations may try to scare you from it by saying that salary talk is against company policy. But under the National Labor Relations Act, many employees have the right to talk about their wages with their coworkers.

I’ve had six full-time jobs, and fear used to keep me from talking about money. But the first time I openly discussed my salary with a colleague, I found out I was being underpaid. I then used that knowledge to look for new roles where I’d be paid more fairly.

These conversations don’t have to be awkward, especially if you’ve established a safe and comfortable relationship. Rather than flat-out asking “How much are you making?,” approach the discussion in a “let’s help each other” way. You might be surprised by the number of people who are willing to talk about it.

Keep in mind that while you have the right to communicate about your wages, your employer may have lawful policies against using their equipment — like work laptops — to have the discussion. Protect yourself by understanding your company’s policy before sending a rallying Slack message.

And always do your research before accepting a contract. Sites like Glassdoor, Levels and Clara offer this data for free.

You can also search sites like TikTok and YouTube to get deep insights about pay. There are many creators who, like me, are open about what they’ve been paid at previous companies — down to stock offerings and sign-on bonuses, and who share information about company cultures overall.

I also created a spreadsheet for people to share their titles and salaries alongside important demographic information I’ve seen left out on other databases, like gender, age and diverse identity fields. So far, it has over 62,000 entries.

Click here to read the full article on CNBC.

11 Gorgeous Afro-Latinx-Owned Online Shops To Support During National Black Business Month
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Afro-Latinx Owned products

By Andrea Reindl, Mitu

August is National Black Business Month and this year, there’s no better time to support Black businesses. After the racial reckoning of 2020, many of us are still educating ourselves on structural racism and the impact it’s had on Black business owners and generational wealth. And part of that education includes shopping at Black-owned businesses.

Luckily, there are Black entrepreneurs out there who are following their dreams and making money moves. Here is a list of Afro-Latinx-owned businesses you can shop at online.

Azteca Negra

Azteca Negra was founded by Jefa Marisol Catchings, who identifies as Chicana and Black. Her online store started off selling colorful hand-crafted headwraps, but since the pandemic, she has also expanded into selling face masks as well. Buy the Mami & Me Princesa Headwrap Set (pictured) for $38.00.

La Boticá Studios

Founded by Afro-Dominicana Dawn Marie West, La Boticá Studios is what she describes as a “luxury fragrance brand” that is “rooted in culture.” With scents like “Flor de Selva” and “República,” her candles are sure to transport you to the Caribbean. Candles start at $78.00.

Coffee Del Mundo

Belizean coffee connoisseur Jonathan Kinnard founded Coffee Del Mundo’s to “help people rediscover coffee the way it was meant to be enjoyed.” So unnatural additives are a no-no. You can get pods or whole beans via delivery. Buy a bag of El Salvador Whole Bean (pictured) for $13.50.

The Cozy Cup Tea

The Cozy Cup Tea was founded by a New York Dominicana who loves tea. While she throws tea party events for the tea-lovers out there, she also sells Caribbean-inspired tea on her website. Buy all teas starting at $10.00.

Breukelen Rub Spice Co.

Breukelen Rub Spice Co. is a Flatbush-located spice brand that produces hyperlocal artisanal spice blends and dry-rubs. Founded by Afro-Puerto Rican chef, Chef JD, Breukelen Rub Spice Co.’s most popular spice blend is the all-purpose, nostalgic spice blend Abuela’s Adobo. Buy for $15.00.

Reina Skincare

Inspired by her own skin troubles, Panamanian Jefa Adriana Isabel Robinson Rivera created a skincare brand fit for a queen. She sells everything from cleansers to toners to serums to oil. Browse their catalog.

Coco and Breezy Eyewear

Famous Afro-Puerto Rican twin DJs Corianna and Brianna Dotson created this luxury eyewear line as a creative experiment. Their brand has since achieved wild success. These are luxury eyewear, so the price point starts at $285.00.

Peralta Project

First-generation Dominican, M. Tony Peralta founded the Peralta Project. According to his website, his designs explore blackness in Dominican identity and pay homage to old-school hip-hop. This shirt is available for $35.00.

Valerie Madison Fine Jewelry

Valerie Madison is a fine jewelry business that describes itself as sells Black-Latina owned. The luxury retailer sells engagement rings, wedding bands, and other fine jewelry. These indulgences are a once-in-a-lifetime type of splurge, so prices vary.

Pisqueya Hot Sauce

Pisqueya hot sauce was created by Maritza Abreu from a recipe handed down “through a family of Dominican cooks.” With three delicious flavors (Smoky Hot, Medium Buzz, and Spicy Sweet), you’ll find a sauce for every occasion. Sauces sell for $6.99 each.

Click here to read the full article on Mitu.

How Latinas can navigate the tech industry
LinkedIn
employees in the tech industry seated at a meeting table with woman pointing to whiteboard

By Eliot Olaya, Al Dia

Prospanica’s Philadelphia chapter held a panel about Latinas in tech, hosting three Latina women who have had years of experience within the industry.

The webinar hosted Edith Perez, the Senior Technical Product Manager at Comcast; Sól Vázquez, CISA and Senior IT Audit Manager at CVS Health; Shannon Morales, CEO and founder of Tribaja, a diversity focused tech recruitment agency; and was moderated by Carrie Ann Zayas Quintana, Enterprise Innovation, Manager of External Partnerships at PNC. Prospanica, an organization that hosts annual career and professional development seminars and aids Hispanics in networking, hosted the four of them to discuss their experiences, careers, and insights they could offer Latina’s entering the tech industry.

For some of these women, they didn’t start their careers in technology. For Vázquez, she began college pursuing a degree in accounting. But when she took an auditing course, she realized it suited her much better and changed her major. In a similar vein, Morales completed her degree in Finance before she moved into the tech sector.

For Morales, a background in Finance was not a barrier to overcome as she entered the tech industry. As she sought to boost other Hispanics’ networking opportunities, she sought to found her own company. With experience in business and financial matters, she was able to use her skills to create her company, Tribaja.

Click here to read the article on Al Dia.

5 Tips to Create or Improve Your Linkedin Profile
LinkedIn
hands typing on laptop

Ready to land your dream job?  You’re in luck because recruiters and employers are looking for candidates in record numbers this year. And one tool they’re using to help them recruit is LinkedIn. Whether you already have a full LinkedIn profile, or you’ve never set one up, follow these five tips to make your profile shine.

Start with the details

This might seem counter-intuitive, but getting the details down first can help you round out the more general parts of your profile, such as the headline and summary. So don’t be afraid to dive right into the “Work Experience” section.

A good format to use for your experience is to start with a one or two sentence summary of each position, followed by bullet points that highlight specifics in terms of accomplishments and results. You might use a slightly edited version of your resume for this.

Get the headline right

Let’s be honest: your LinkedIn headline does a lot of heavy lifting for you. So it’s important that it highlight your industry or career as well as your skills and/or what you can offer to an employer. It doesn’t need to be cute or attention grabbing. But since it’s the one piece of your profile that most people actually will read, you do want to make sure it conveys information about you. Put yourself in the mind of a recruiter for your dream job, and make sure your headline has some keywords that will identify you as a good fit for that position. For example, if you’re looking for a career in something as specific as accounting or database management, you want to make sure that’s obvious from your headline.

To start brainstorming your headline, go back to your Work Experience information. You should find a story somewhere in your summary statements and your bullet points. Once you land on a headline, you might even want to tweak your Work Experience section to make sure it works well with and flows from your headline.

Make the effort with a headshot

This little image is the most-viewed part of your profile—in fact, recruiters and employers see it before they even click through to look at the rest of your profile. You don’t need to hire a professional photographer for your headshot, but if you have access to one, it can make the process easier. If you don’t, have someone take a a photo of you in front of a neutral background, and crop it to show just your head and the top of your shoulders. A good rule of thumb for how to dress is to wear what you would wear to your dream job (even though only the top of your shoulders will be visible). You want to look professional and friendly. Employers are looking for someone who will get along well with colleagues, so smiling or having an approachable look is important.

List all 50 skills

LinkedIn has up to 50 slots for you to list your skills, and they use these skills like keywords to match you to recruiters’ or employers’ searches. So, the more skills or keywords you have listed, the more likely you’ll show up in someone’s search.

Not sure which skills you should list? One place to get ideas is from the LinkedIn profiles of people who have jobs similar to yours, or who work in the same field. CareerOneStop’s Tools & Technology Finder is also a good place to identify the most common tools or software programs for your specific occupation; if you have experience with the tools or technologies you find listed when you look up your occupation there, you should definitely list them.

Ask for recommendations

This last point can be the hardest one for many people, but having even a couple recommendations on your LinkedIn profile can make a difference in whether a recruiter pauses and takes a closer look. Recommendations can be quite short—even two to three sentences—so asking someone to write one for you does not have to be a huge burden to them.

In terms of who you should ask, you can really consider almost anyone you’ve known in a professional setting. That can include people more senior than you, more junior than you, or colleagues at your own level. It can also include current or former colleagues, bosses, or employees.

Source: CareerOneStop

This Afro-Latina Wants To Empower Women With Crypto Education
LinkedIn
money-spreadout-on-table-with-a-graducation-cap-and-tassle-in-the-middle. Crypto

By BeLatina

As the world becomes more digital, and with the metaverse just around the corner, educating and empowering our communities about access to new resources is vital.

But what happens when the language is convoluted and leaves out minorities?

Enter Marimer Cruz.

This Afro-Latina has written a book to break crypto down and make it accessible to everyone. “Crypto Simplified” is a step-by-step how-to manual that includes videos to start investing in the cryptocurrency world in an easy, quick, and safe way.

According to the author’s press release, the book s a layman’s explanation of the world of cryptocurrencies, how to buy your first crypto, and make money after implementation. Cruz explains what novices need to know about this complicated and rapidly evolving market.

For Marimer Cruz, the feeling of being overwhelmed by the financial jargon is common for all Latinos, especially those from poor backgrounds.

A graduate of TAMUCT and BAYLOR University’s Master’s degree, Cruz grew up amid poverty, abuse, and struggling with systemic lupus.

The Texas-based Puerto Rican experienced firsthand the linguistic and information democratization obstacles when she took her first steps in the world of cryptocurrency.

“I remember how scared I was of sending money from one exchange to another, thinking I will lose it all,” she says.

Now, with “Crypto Simplified,” Cruz wants to change the landscape.

“I remember how alone it feels being one of the few women minority full-time educators and bot traders in the USA,” she admits.

Cruz learned directly from grid bot trading experts and has leveraged her seven years as a super affiliate to help others safely embark on crypto. “Crypto is my passion, and there is nothing like it,” Cruz says, “and I will be spreading the crypto gospel in the Anglo and Spanish markets for years to come!”

Click here to read the full article on BeLatina.

Meet Afro-Latina Scientist Dr. Jessica Esquivel
LinkedIn
Dr. Jessica Esquivel

By Erica Nahmad, Be Latina

It’s undeniable that representation matters and the idea of what a scientist could or should look like is changing, largely thanks to pioneers like Afro-Latina scientist Dr. Jessica Esquivel, who is breaking barriers for women in STEM one step at a time.

Dr. Esquivel isn’t just extraordinary because of what she is capable of as an Afro-Latina astrophysicist — she’s also extraordinary in her vulnerability and relatability. She’s on a mission to break barriers in science and to show the humanity behind scientists.

Dr. Esquivel makes science accessible to everyone, no matter what you look like or where you come from. As one of the only Afro-Latina scientists in her field, and one of the only women who looked like her to pursue a Ph.D. in physics, Dr. Esquivel knows a thing or two about the importance of representation, especially in STEM fields and science labs.

Women make up only 28% of the science, technology, engineering, and math workforce in the U.S. Those disparities are even more severe when you start to look at minority populations.

“When you start looking at the intersections of race and gender and then even sexuality, those numbers drop significantly,” Esquivel told CBS Chicago. “There are only about 100 to 150 black women with their Ph.D. in physics in the country!”

Fighting against the isolation of uniqueness
Dr. Jessica Esquivel recalls being a nontraditional student and being “the only” when she entered graduate school for physics — the only woman in her class, the only Black, the only Mexican, the only lesbian — and all of that made her feel very isolated.

“On top of such rigorous material, the isolation and otherness that happens due to being the only or one of few is an added burden marginalized people, especially those with multiple marginalized identities, have to deal with,” Dr. Esquivel told BeLatina in an email interview. On top of feeling like an outsider, isolation was also consuming. “Being away from family at a predominately white institution, where the number of microaggressions was constant, really affected my mental health and, in turn, my coursework and research, so it was important to surround myself with mentors who supported me and believed in my ability to be a scientist.”

While she anticipated that the physics curriculum would be incredibly challenging, she was definitely not prepared for how hard the rest of the experience would be and how it would impact her as a student and a scientist.

The challenges she faced professionally and personally made her realize early on just how crucial representation is in academia and all fields, but especially in STEM. “It was really impactful for me to learn that there were other Black women who had made it out of the grad school metaphorical trenches. It’s absolutely important to create inclusive spaces where marginalized people, including Black, Latina, and genderqueer people, can thrive,” she said.

“The secrets of our universe don’t discriminate, these secrets can and should be unraveled by all those who wish to embark on that journey, and my aim is to clear as many barriers and leave these physics spaces better than I entered them.”

When inclusion and equal opportunities are the ultimate goal
Dr. Jessica Esquivel isn’t just dedicating her time and energy to studying complex scientific concepts — think quantum entanglement, space-time fabric, the building blocks of the universe… some seriously abstract physics concepts straight out of a sci-fi movie, as she explains. On top of her research, she put in so much extra work to show people, especially younger generations of women of color, that the physics and STEM world is not some old white man’s club where this prestigious knowledge is only available to them. Dr. Esquivel is an expert in her field; she knows things that no one else currently knows and has the ability and the power to transfer that knowledge to others and pass it down to others. There is a place for everyone, including people who look like her, in the STEM world, and she’s on a mission to inspire others while working to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in the STEM space.

“Many of us who are underrepresented in STEM have taken on the responsibility of spearheading institutional change toward more just, equitable, and inclusive working environments as a form of survival,” she explains. “I’m putting in more work on top of the research I do because I recognize that I do better research if I feel supported and if I feel like I can bring my whole self to my job. My hope is that one day Black and brown women and gender-queer folks interested in science can pursue just that and not have to fight for their right to be a scientist or defend that they are worthy of doing science.”

Click here to read the full article on Be Latina.

Sandra Velasquez, the CEO and Founder of Nopalera, Creates Body Care as a Celebration of Her Latina Culture
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Nopalera soap ad

By Nashia Baker, Martha Stewert

Going back to the summer of 2019, Sandra Velasquez, the CEO and founder of Nopalera, a luxury, clean body care brand, visited with family in San Diego, Calif. while in between jobs. During this time at her childhood home, she started her now-business purely based on the beauty of her surroundings. The entrepreneur had an itch to learn how to create new things in her spare time, soap being her main focus. Most of the recipes she referenced called for aloe vera, though—which she didn’t have on hand.

“Here in Southern California, we have plenty of nopales, which is what in English, people call the prickly pear cactus, but we Latinos call it the nopal,” says Velasquez. “My parents, like most of the neighbors around here, have a nopalera, which is a cactus plant, in their front yard, so that is what I started to use instead of the aloe.”

Creating this cactus-infused soap proved to be her “a-ha” moment to start a brand of her own. The plant is sustainable with nourishing properties, and she pulled from her previous experiences as a musician and a sales professional to blend her passion for celebratory, cultural storytelling and authentic self-care to bring her product to market. “I could create this brand, a high-end Latina brand, that could really disrupt the Eurocentric values in this country that we see in the beauty industry, that normalize higher price tags for brands with French and Italian names,” she says.

Designing and Collaborating
Everything that goes into the Nopalera brand, whether it be the design to the naming of every product, is intentional on Velasquez’s part. “You know, you’re wearing the shoes that you’re wearing, because of how they look with your outfits, right? We buy things based on how they make us feel,” she says. “I knew that the branding was going to be critical.”

She started her brand by putting any necessary payments (like enrollment for formulation school) on her credit card. She then paid a designer she knew from a previous job to create the storytelling-centric packaging and researched to find a packer to lend a hand and get her products made.

“It was just a lot of just falling down rabbit holes on the internet, asking everyone I knew, reading industry articles, following the right publications, finding people’s names there, and then going and finding those people directly,” Velasquez says, noting that she would attend trade shows and panels—and still connects with women of color professionals personally. “It’s because I made a concerted effort, consistently, to keep finding people; you’re not going to find anything unless you go and literally put yourself in the rooms.”

Culturally Inspired Brand
Most importantly, Velasquez credits her love for her culture as being the heart of Nopalera as a whole. “My family has impacted me and my business because they really instilled strong cultural pride in me, which I’m very grateful for,” the CEO says. She expresses how her parents taught her about the pride in being Mexican growing up and to never assimilate in her life. “That cultural pride is what I have carried through in my brand,” Velasquez adds. “Bath and body products are the goods that we sell, but the perspective and the mission behind it is about elevating our culture and changing the perception of Latino goods in this marketplace.”

Cultivating an Audience
After completing the branding, Velasquez worked to grow her audience. “I started to advertise on Facebook and Instagram early on, even pre-launch,” she says. She invested in herself during this process by taking a social media ad class. From there, she says that she began running targeted ads in areas such as California, Texas, and Arizona with large Latino populations and building an email list so she knew who to send brand messages to when Nopalera made its official debut.

“That’s one of the best pieces of advice I can give to people; don’t go and create in the shadows, and then all of a sudden appear and expect for people to notice,” she says. “Building your email list in advance is so important, if you can, if you’ve already started [your business], just start building it now.” This helped her get the Nopalera brand name out there from day one, and she says people still find her business today through her email list. She’s also continued putting out targeted ads, as over 600 boutiques that have applied to become her stockist found the brand through the advertisements.

Click here to read the full article on Martha Stewert.

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Upcoming Events

  1. City Career Fair
    January 19, 2022 - November 4, 2022
  2. The Small Business Expo–Multiple Event Dates
    February 17, 2022 - December 1, 2022
  3. National College Resources Foundation Upcoming Events–Mark Your Calendar!
    September 24, 2022 - April 1, 2023
  4. HACE National Virtual Career Fair
    September 29, 2022
  5. ROMBA Conference
    October 6, 2022 - October 8, 2022
  6. HACU 36th Annual Conference
    October 8, 2022 - October 10, 2022
  7. NMSDC 50th Anniversary Conference & Exchange
    October 30, 2022 - November 2, 2022
  8. The UnidosUS Workforce Development Summit 2022
    November 2, 2022 - November 4, 2022
  9. NBIC Unity Week 2022
    November 15, 2022 - November 18, 2022
  10. UnidosUS – LatinX Health Equity Summit 2022
    December 6, 2022 - December 8, 2022