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.
Nic Flores is from Olton, Texas – a small town between Lubbock and Amarillo in the state’s panhandle. As he explains it, this is the “Texas” part of Texas, an agri-business community where white farmers employ a predominantly Mexican and migrant workforce. Education brought Flores eastward, when he was accepted to DePauw University, a liberal arts college in Greencastle, Indiana. The Midwestern context awakened Flores’s consciousness, raising specific questions of self-identification and societal perceptions of “whiteness” as practice and privilege.
The study of movement brought Marya Barrios to Columbus and the practice of movement (for the moment) keeps her here. Her father moved from Venezuela to New York in 1993 and then from New York to Ohio to pursue his Master’s in technology and dance through the Ohio State Dance Department. Barrios joined her father shortly after his move to Columbus. At the age of 15, she left behind a Venezuela already exhibiting early symptoms of political and social unrest.
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.
A self identified “Mexican born in the United States,” Rocío Prado grew up immersed in and somewhat torn between two cultures. Though based in Anaheim, California, Prado and her family frequently trekked to Mexico and Tijuana for weekend visits to family and doctors. Her experiences in Mexico and Baja California juxtaposed with those in Orange County private schools, where classmates often noted her ethnic difference, were difficult to navigate.
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.
Even if you haven’t met Luisa Talamás, you’ve surely encountered her work. As art director assistant for ¿Qué Pasa, Ohio State?, Talamás crafts the layout and design of the magazine. She continues to explore connections between art and function as a student of industrial design at Ohio State University. We met in her campus haunt (Hayes Hall) where she spoke of her passion for industrial design and decision to move to Columbus, Ohio from San Marcos, Texas.
For a collective of community members and Ohio State students, dance is the key to cultural preservation. Álvaro Lozano and Maria Patiño are members of Folclor Hispano, a group at the Ohio State University dedicated to performing traditional dances from Spanish-Speaking countries. The organization highlights the uniqueness within Latin America by showcasing dances from Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Peru, and Spain.
Luis Fernando Macías not only co-edits ¿Qué Pasa Ohio State? Magazine with Marie Lerma, he is also a doctoral candidate in Ohio State’s Department of Teaching and Learning’s Multicultural and Equity Studies in Education. His lifelong interests in education and immigrant rights are present in his dissertation work which analyzes the tuition equity movement in Ohio led by diverse youth and young adults raised in the state, but with uncertain immigration status.
Dr. Jesus J. Lara works to create spaces that promote general well-being and contentment. As he puts it, he is in the business of “making people happy” by improving their surrounding environment. As an associate professor and Master’s Program Chair in the Knowlton School’s City and Regional Planning Section, Lara focuses his research and teaching practice on sustainable design while minding the relationship between people and space. Part of his studies considers how Latinos revitalize de-industrialized communities – both adapting to and transforming their surrounding environment.