A 2013 study stated that women only make up 24% of the workforce in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields. Even more startling, only 3% of workers in the field are Latina. Jessica Cáceres is counted in this 3%. Working for the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), she merges her passion for environmental advocacy with her interest in community development.
On their way to school each day, two sisters passed salon Azul Violeta in their hometown of Michoacán, Mexico. The constant presence of the storefront inspired them to one day operate their own beauty shop. Years later and thousands of miles away, the sisters opened a salon in Whitehall, Ohio. They named it Azul Violeta Salon, commemorating their hometown’s business. When the sister’s decided to sell the shop to care for an ailing loved one, the salon became Cristal Galloso’s. The acquisition fulfilled yet another aspiration for the 24-year-old Galloso, who dreamt of one day running her own business.
Reyna Esquivel-King kindly took a break from grading finals to share her story with ¡Dímelo, Columbus! She is currently a graduate student in Ohio State’s Department of History studying the relationship between film censorship and identity creation in Mexico’s revolutionary and post-revoluationary periods. We discussed her dissertation, how our backgrounds inspire research topics, and the strong relationship between history and the present.
Yolanda Zepeda advocates for Latino students and other underrepresented groups on campus as the assistant vice provost in Ohio State’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion. With a significant background in higher education, Zepeda has seen a shift in the treatment of diversity in a university setting. Her experiences as a former student and current administrator of color within the university system inspire her to help others struggling to defend their identities and explain their presence on campus.
Virginia Nunes Gutierrez beams at me from behind the counter of Bottoms Up Coffee Co-Op where she is now a budding barista and community advocate. The shop – which opened this past March of 2016 – is the realized product of Virginia and sister, Victoria Calderón Nunes’s, dream to revitalize and empower Franklinton. Proceeds from each cup of coffee combat the infant mortality rate in Columbus, Ohio (which are among the worst in the country), while the building gives start-ups and entrepreneurs space to work and collaborate.