What would you like to tell the supporters of Latinas Leading Tomorrow? I am infinitely grateful to LLT's supportive programming and mentorship for providing me with the foundations that set me up for success academically and professionally. Now, I have my clinical doctorate in occupational therapy and hope to provide the same mentorship that I was so fortunate to receive to the upcoming Latina leaders of this generation. When I saw an opportunity to give back to LLT by interviewing to become a board member, I jumped at the chance to give back to this organization that fueled my passion, drive, and self-confidence from a very young age. Juntas alcanzaremos las estrellas!
Dominique Lopez-Piper, PhD
What did you learn about the program at Latinas Leading Tomorrow? LLT ELITE was really the start of planning and accomplishing my future. The program and being surrounded by other high achieving Latinas helped me see my future and got me excited about planning it. Even if some goals and dreams on my vision board have changed, it steered me in the right direction. The tools and skills ELITE introduced me to that I continue to use are LinkedIn, expanding my network, and being confident while doing interviews. I recently got my first job! In my opinion, the most unique part of the ELITE program was the self reflection interwoven in every session.
What would you like to share with the Latino community? My life was falling apart and I had no option but to face them. I started working full time. On many occasions I wanted to give up and drop out of school. But I didn’t want to be another statistic. I thought to myself, “So this is why many people don’t finish college, this is what people mean by life is hard and this is why we don’t have Latina representation.” I had done so well in school my entire life and felt devastated to know that was where it ended. So what did I do? I kept fighting. I fought through family problems, personal problems, financial problems and I fought through it all while having a full time job and still attending school full time. I have always loved science. I knew there weren’t enough Latinas in the STEM field and I was determined to change that. And that’s exactly what I did. I want to be a role model for all the first generation students, for our Latinx community and for women in general. Today, I am a Lab Scientist and the only Latin representation in the building. Life is hard, but without an education it’s even harder. Así que señoritas, a ponerse las pilas.
What is your favorite Latinas Leading Tomorrow memory? Having been a part of LLT through high school allowed me to meet many inspiring latinas in the community whom showed me that I shouldn’t hide my background but instead embrace where my family comes from. With the help of several amazing mentors I was able to connect with my roots and stand proud as a first generation Latina American in college. LLT was able to give me the foundation I needed to put myself out there in the world, from networking to building a portfolio and to selling my personal brand. To have had a great community supporting me and seeing how other LLT alumni have been succeeding and proudly representing their cultures has continued to motivate me as I try to become a role model for young Latinos especially those aspiring to continue their educations. LLT gave me the foundation to build off of in order to continue to move forward in world as a minority and I am forever thankful to have been a part of an amazing organization.
Melissa SolisWakefield LLT CORE class of 2017 BS 2021 Old Dominon University Marine Biology and Oceanography