Claudia Hernandez (second from the right), together with Ana Larrea-Albert (center) and other Future Latina Leaders who participated in the NENANI Mentorship program at FAU, 2016.
As part of my NENANI Mentorship program, the Future Latina Leaders who participate in the program have the opportunity to showcase their writing skills by choosing a NENANI featured Latina professional and describing how she is inspired by that Latina’s journey. Claudia Hernandez chose to write about Maria Blaschke, an ambitious and driven Latina succeeding in her learning goals. Join me in congratulating Claudia in her continuous journey towards becoming a Future Latina Leader and enjoy her thoughts below. Well done Claudia!
We all want to achieve great things. We hope to someday become this amazing person with an amazing life and job. But it is not enough to just want it. We must be willing to work hard enough, shed blood, tears, sweat and want it bad enough to achieve great things.
Maria Blaschke, a young driven Latina willing to work hard for her future has inspired me with her story. She was willing to challenge herself to overcome language and academic barriers and not settle for anything less than the best version of herself.
When she talked about feeling like “a person without a country” and feeling like we don’t “belong here nor there”, I could relate to that. I was born in Mexico and brought to the States at two years of age. I have live most of my entire life in the U.S but felt as if I did not belong here because I wasn’t born here but neither in Mexico because I was raised here. Like Maria, I’ve learned to embrace my two countries. Being the first born to Mexican immigrants and an immigrant myself was challenging in my first few years in school. Understanding the different language, learning to do homework on my own could be seen as disadvantages but I say it’s what has made me to be as smart as I am and self-driven.
I admire Maria’s determination, the way she worked full time while completing her undergrad as a full time student and not just that, she was part of ALPFA FIU program where she mentored, did community service and fundraisers. She has not only taken advantage of the many opportunities thrown her way but looked for them also. She has not let her circumstances change the narrative instead has turned them into her motivation that drives her to do her best. Her achievement’s inspire me to do more, be more, look for and optimize opportunities that come my way. Maria’s story has encouraged me to move out of my comfort zone and trying something daring that will make me better. I am motivated to go out for a new leadership position at school. I will help the Transfer Program that I am involved in at FAU be the best program it can be and help others along so we can empower each other to become great.
“Te tienes que cuidar porque si tu no te cuidas nadie lo hará por ti” which translates into “You have to take care of yourself because if you do not, nobody will do it for you”, a saying my mom tells me either when I don’t want to put a sweater on, take my medication or don’t get enough sleep. I have taken her advice, not only health wise but from a different perspective. If you don’t work hard enough for yourself, for your own dreams and future nobody else will. We have to take care of our own future, our own success because if we don’t than nobody else will. Like Maria said, we have to bet on ourselves, know that we are capable of great things and believing we can achieve them.
I have battled with my health for a while now, yet managed to stay in school by completing my AA at Palm Beach State College and now finishing my B.S in Neuroscience at FAU. At 18 years of age I was diagnosed with Aplastic Anemia which lead to a Bone Marrow Transplant. My family and I went through a very tough time dealing with my health issues, my mom tried dividing her time across my six siblings at home and me at the hospital while my dad worked hard and tried to keep our family stable. We eventually got through that part thanks to God and the support and love of family and friend. I now live with the complications of the transplant (GVHD) and sometimes feel as if I will not get better. I have tried many drug treatments, mostly chemotherapy and none has shown effect until the recent one.
If you look at me I may seem O.K but in reality sometimes I feel far from that. I get tired very quickly, my body can’t function as I wish it did for a person my age, and I have a constant annoying cough caused by damage to my lungs from the GVHD which I totally hate because people everywhere I go give me this look as if I was so contagious to even sit by them, if only they knew my struggle, if only they knew the side effects of my medication, if only they knew the strength I need to have just to get out of bed every morning they wouldn’t whisper hurtful things or give a despising look. I have come across very kind people who also understand and in some way even relate with my situation, people who make me want to continue on with my day smiling. Reading inspirational stories like Maria’s, thinking about how my parents work hard just so I can have the best education and life possible and most importantly not giving up on myself are part of what keeps me motivated and passionate about my future. After obtaining my B.S. in Neuroscience I hope to either go to medical school and become a neurosurgeon or be part of the research field. My dad always reminds me that it’s not “when” we get to our goals that counts but it’s “how and why” we did it that really matters. I have faith that God will not forsake me as He has carried me through it all.
Like Maria and many more Latinas out there I hope I can be a great leader, accomplish great things, contribute, be an inspiration and empower each other so we can all break the glass ceiling together! We are one great family.
Keep up the great work, Claudia! I know you have a fantastic future ahead of you!