Being on the Bryn Mawr Bulletin

I keep getting calls and texts from people who saw the new Bryn Mawr bulletin saying I’m on the cover. It’s somehow embarrassing and cool at the same time.

The bulletin features “Posse Power”; centering the stories of Bryn Mawr’s STEM posse. I remember getting a phone call from someone working on this story asking me to talk about my posse and my experience at Bryn Mawr. I talked about my sister coming to Bryn Mawr with Posse in 2009, me following in her footsteps, how different it is being in STEM, and what Posse means to me. A week later, my entire posse and I are at the admissions office having a real photo shoot. I was expecting us to sit in our regular weekly posse meetings and have an old camera take a few pictures of us. But, I walked into an entire studio equipment. Photo shoots are much more awkward and uncomfortable than I thought they would be! (I don’t know how models do it).

Just last week I get a text from sister telling me to watch her instagram story and I see her freaking out over me being in the cover of the new bulletin. She definitely got way too excited about it. But it’s cool to have Posse featured by Bryn Mawr and to have our stories being told! I am eternally grateful for Posse and everything that is does for us.

 

Math Conference at La Salle

So I have never been a math person (nor will I ever be) but my amazing stats professor, Leslie Cheng, allowed us to get extra credit if we attended a math conference at La Salle University last weekend, and I could’ve used the help.

At first, the conference was very confusing and had geniuses present on math that I could never hope to understand. But then for one of the activities, we played a math game. Now, that sounds super unappealing, but it actually ended up being very interesting. The game looked like this:

It pretty much consists of trying to get three groups of cards that are either completely different (in shape, color, consistency) or completely the same. It was really confusing at first, but became more and more intriguing. There were a ton of math theories behind the game, and though I didn’t understand them, I really enjoyed how they turned math into something so easy.

The conference didn’t turn me into a math fan, but it did show me how differently math can be approached. Students presented on math in poetry and math as philosophy. It was stuff that I had never heard of and was really cool to see.

I still will never be a math major, but the experience was cool and the extra credit is cool too!

Declaring an Independent Major

The other day I received the best news I’ve gotten in a while: my independent major proposal was approved!!

Bryn Mawr has a ton of majors and minors, but for the students who feel that what they want to study isn’t represented by these, the option of creating an independent major is available.

Over the summer I decided I wanted to pursue an independent major and have spent all of fall semester working on my proposal. I wrote a four page paper describing my major, the reason I want to pursue it and how I will get it done. I was able to find two professors whose interests aligned with mine and who agreed to be my major advisors. I organized and reorganized and reorganized until I was happy with my proposal. After submitting, I received some feedback from the independent major committee to improve my proposal. Then finally, after making some slight changes I received the news that the committee had approved my major in Public Health!

Now, I am able to submit an independent major work plan and declare my major. Next up will be applying to a study abroad program. Sophomore year is definitely a busy one with all of these planning processes, but it is all so exciting.

WTF Week!!!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! WTF week! (Also known as Hell Week)

This is my most cherished Bryn Mawr tradition, where first-years and upperclassmen bond over performing weird tasks and confusing non-mawrters.

The women’s snap story was very confused about hell week/WTF week.

Since I’m a sophomore, this was my first year with babies!!! I was blessed with two beautiful rose buds

I realized this year that planning WTF week schedules is hectic and expensive, but it was all worth it to see my two daughters have fun and feel welcomed at Bryn Mawr. I remember my first-year WTF week made me feel like Bryn Mawr was the right place to be. I was able to meet so many new students and bond over our WTF week antics. I wanted to make sure my babies felt just as welcomed. This week is a week to relax and have fun and let go.

I’m sad that WTF week has come to an end once again, but I can’t wait for next year when I get to be a grandma!!

 

 

Back at Penn!

Tonight was my first time back in the city since returning from winter break. I was able to attend UPenn’s talk hosted by the Annenberg School of Communication. The talk included a panel of black journalists and asked them pressing questions about the current politics of the country. The room was huge, the size of a theatre, and completely packed.

It was really great being in that room and feeling that energy. Even though I’m not particularly interested in journalism, the conversation included important points about the health care system and health inequalities that got me thinking about possible thesis ideas for the future!

I then spent some time in the city and found this amazing food spot!

Honey Grow stir-fry

I always forget how much I love spending time in Philly until I go back in and get completely re-energized.

NAACP trip to NYC

The NAACP group at Bryn Mawr took six students to spend three days in New York participating in a leadership diversity conference. The conference took place from Nov. 18th to the 19th and was full of students and faculty from colleges all over the country. There were people there from Florida, Texas, Illinois, California and so many other states. Bryn Mawr students were there to represent Pennsylvania 🙂

The weekend was packed with interactive workshops and meaningful discussions. Being a posse student, it was really interesting to participate in similar activities, but with a different atmosphere and group. Bryn Mawr posse students and our guests (who we call posse plussers) spend a weekend in the spring of every year diving deep into a conversation about diversity, very similar to this conference. But the experience in this conference was very different than my first posse plus retreat last spring.

On the second day of the conference, I participated in the identity politics workshop, where we did the same activity Posse had us do last year. The activity involved different areas of the room having posters with an identity (ex: race, gender, sexuality, religion, (dis)ability). The facilitators would then read out statements and participants would move to the area/identity that we most strongly connected to that statement. It was interesting for me to do this because I realized my answers changed from last spring. This made me think about how much I’ve changed in half a year and how much Bryn Mawr has impacted me to see things differently.

I really enjoyed this conference, as it made me questions and deepen many of my beliefs/values. Opportunities like this are why I appreciate having come to Bryn Mawr.

Election Day at the Mawr

Yesterday morning, Bryn Mawr students were excited to vote on what was, for many of us, our first time voting. There was a shuttle that took us from campus to the nearest voting poll. The polls were full of long lines of college students. I casted my vote, ate warm chocolate chip cookies with hot chocolate and awaited the results.

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Fast forward a couple hours and both TGH and the campus center are full of concerned students watching the election. As time went on and it became evident that Trump was doing remarkably well, you felt the energy drop. Bryn Mawr is a very liberal college and many of us were rooting for Clinton. Trump represents so much of what we are trying to fight against.

This is a very different experience from my sister’s time at Bryn Mawr when Obama was being elected. She spoke of TGH being filled with cheers everytime he won a state. I speak of the campus center being filled with tears and hugs everytime Trump won a state. But the hugs, the warmth, the solidarity in that room made this night less threatening.

Today my professor sent a heartfelt email about self care and assuring us that if we had to take the day off because this election was too personal, we could. I appreciate that Bryn Mawr is an institution that is helping me cope with these results rather than amplifying my pain.

Later today there will be vigils, protests and activism to express our sentiment at this difficult time. Bryn Mawr students don’t sit with their arms crossed in the face of hate. We fight back.

 

Adelante Panel

Yesterday I had the opportunity to speak on a panel that “Adelante” was running for the Latinx parents of their students. Adelante is a college-bound program that Bryn Mawr students work at to engage middle school students in college prep workshops. I was asked to be one of the panelists and talk about my experience as an immigrant in higher education. Professor Montes, a sociology professor at Bryn Mawr that focuses on immigrant studies, was also with me on the panel sharing her experience as an immigrant in higher education.

I loved being a part of this panel and meeting these parents because it reminded me so much of my own. These parents want the best for their children and are working day in and day out to make sure they have the best opportunities. Talking about my own experience reminded me of how blessed I am to have gotten the Posse Scholarship for Bryn Mawr. I’ve had amazing opportunities, but I know how difficult things are and how different circumstances can limit you. Speaking to these parents, listening to their concerns, answering their questions, and letting them know that affordable higher education for their children is possible was so valuable to me.

I attended Girls Inc. when I was in middle school and high school and if it wasn’t for that organization I probably wouldn’t be where I am today. So I am so glad that Bryn Mawr partners with Adelante and is doing similar work. This is just a testament to how Bryn Mawr students constantly seek to make a difference.

Ethical Science Symposium (Day 2)

Today was the last day of the Ethical Science Symposium at Haverford. My favorite panel from today was on the ethics of preventive medicine, specifically on vaccines. Guest panelists Dr. Kristen Feemster and Dr. Jason Schwatrz talked about herd immunity and discussed how we can debate the ethics of individual decision vs. duty to public good.

These conversations are really important to have today in the wake of many parents being hesitant to vaccinate their children due to fear of side effects and perceived links to autism.

I loved having the opportunity to listen to a variety of perspectives on how best to deal with this issue in order to address people’s concerns while still working towards the health of the public. All of the topics that were discussed at this symposium fit well into the classes I take and helped give me insight into questions I should be asking.

This weekend was my first time attending a health-related symposium and my first time attending any symposium while in college. I love that these are the kinds of conversations that we can have within the science departments in the bi-co. We don’t just discuss hardcore STEM issues, but the social implications of these issues as well.

This weekend, along with several weeks of trying to hone in on what I want to study, has made me grateful to have the opportunity to ask these vital questions. My Dominican family tends to stick to traditional fields of study and don’t really consider fields where intersectionality is possible, such as bioethics, public health, medical anthropology, and others. So participating in a symposium that asks vital interdisciplinary questions made me realize how much I value that.

This weekend helped me become confident in what I’m studying and have a clearer sense of what issues really matter to me. Now, if I could just declare a major and minor.