Andrea Shek, Editorial Intern
Andrea is a senior at the University of Mary Washington majoring in Spanish with a minor in Psychology. As the daughter of Colombian immigrants she has strong ties to the Latino community and is highly influenced by the culture. She hopes to pursue a master’s degree in either international relations with a focus on Latin America or in clinical psychology with aspirations to give back to the Latino community in a mental health capacity. In her spare time she likes to bake, stay active through Zumba and Yoga and channel her creativity by painting.
Pavithra Suresh, Nonprofit Administration Intern
Pavithra is originally from Raleigh, N,C. She graduated from Hollins University in 2016 with degrees in International Studies, Communication, and Spanish. While at Hollins, Pavithra focused her senior thesis on indigenous rights and representation in Bolivia. Since then, one of her scholastic passions is promoting the inclusion and accurate representation of native voices in public discourse. Pavithra is currently a graduate student at American University where she is pursuing her Master’s degree in Intercultural and International Communication.
Rebecca Toro, Social Media Intern
Rebecca is a senior at West Virginia University majoring in journalism and minoring in interactive media design. She was born and raised in Laurel,Md., by her Puerto-Rican father and her Jewish-American mother. Rebecca is excited to share her writing with the world. She loves music, food, Netflix, and dancing.
Claire Matsunaga, Nonprofit Management Intern
Claire grew up in Potomac, Maryland, and graduated from Penn State University with a bachelors degree in Spanish and international politics in 2010. She spent two years in the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic as an Education Volunteer. While there, she became fluent in Spanish, taught English, facilitated teacher training, organized youth camps, established a school library, and discovered a love of spicy Haitian peanut butter. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in development management at American University. She continues to volunteer with organizations like AHEAD, Inc., and teaches English while pursuing a career in international development. She is passionate about intercultural exchange, the environment, good food, and travel.
Daisy Espinosa, Social Media Intern
Daisy is a proud Chicana hailing from Santa Ana, Calif. She is senior studying sociology at Georgetown University, where she enjoys dancing in a Mexican ballet folklorico group and singing in the chapel choir. Daisy is very excited to join the Hola Cultura team and spread awareness of its great programming and championing of Latinx culture. In her spare time, Daisy likes to sew, watch movies, and befriend the dogs she meets at pet stores.
Maria Carrasco, Editorial Intern
Maria is a sophomore at American University majoring in journalism and minoring in political science and Spanish. She’s also working on her Spanish translation certificate. Maria was born in Concepción, Chile but has lived in Chicago for most of her life. Her main aspiration is to be a political reporter, but also wants to report on the Latino community. Maria has written for A.U.’s student newspaper, the Eagle, and writes an online column for WVAU, American University’s student radio station, and writes for other non-profits sites in D.C. Fun fact: Maria’s favorite food is her mom’s Chilean-style empanadas.
Miranda Blum, Web Design Intern
Miranda is originally from New York, but here in D.C., she is a Junior at American University with a double major in graphic design and Spanish. She loves traveling, photography, and reading and is taking French classes just for fun. Miranda fell in love with Spain long before she studied abroad in Madrid, but that opportunity enhanced her desire to go back. She hopes to spend a year teaching English in Spain after graduation. At Hola Cultura, Miranda has the unique opportunity of using knowledge from both of her majors. For her responsibilities at Hola Cultura this spring include creating, designing, and organizing content for the web and for print.
Nico Amaro, Nonprofit Management Intern
Nico Amaro finished a master’s degree in education policy and leadership at American University in December of 2016. Before completing his degree, he taught at a public charter school in Southeast D.C. for four years, where he learned community outreach skills and participated in community cultural initiatives. Along the way, Nico developed and implemented special education curriculum for students performing below grade level in math, science, and social studies. Before becoming a teacher, Nico worked on curriculum development, among other projects, for the Puerto Rico Department of Education through a small education research and consulting firm located in the nation’s capital. He developed his passion for community outreach as an undergraduate government and economics student at Harvard University, where he was the director of an English as a second program and a member of the varsity football team. Since his undergrad days, he has volunteered several times as a football coach.
Quincey Tickner, Editorial Intern
Quincey is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in journalism and Spanish at American University. She is from the Mission District in San Francisco where she was introduced to the beauty of Latino culture, music and heritage. Quincey studied Spanish journalism in Madrid last year and wrote articles for a local magazine there. She loves music, especially Spanish guitar and music from Spain’s La Movida movement.
Rebeca Ortega, Video Intern
Rebeca is a recent college graduate from Sonora, Mexico. She earned a bachelors degree in marketing last year at at Anahuác University in Mexico City and worked as an intern at the pharmaceutical company, Pfizer Mexico, for a year before becoming a full time Youtuber. She is interning at Hola Cultura this spring as part of The Washington Center’s “Sonora 100” program. She is passionate about food, vlogging and social media.
Mercedes Ovalle Delgado, Video Intern
Mercedes is a motivated and multitalented digital Media and Web Technology major Montgomery College, who combines a passion for graphic design, photography, videography, and web design. At Montgomery College, she is in the Renaissance Scholars Honors Program and also serves at Montgomery College Television in Rockville Campus as a media production aid. Originally from Peru, she enjoyed volunteering at Smithsonian Folklife Festival Peru Pachamama in 2015, which honored Peru’s rich indigenous traditions.
Paula Martinez, Editorial Intern
Paula is a 20-year old from Madrid, Spain studying abroad at American University. She is a senior majoring in World Politics at Leiden University College The Hague in the Netherlands. She is specifically interested in non-profit management as well as design and would like to combine the two through her internship in Hola Cultura. In her free time she enjoys going to festivals and cultural events as well as exploring the cities she has lived in. Her hobbies include photography, travelling and watching TED talks about the most random topics.
Yasmine Batiz, Editorial Intern
Yasmine is a senior at the Catholic University of America majoring in Spanish for International Service and minoring in Education, and just returned from studying abroad in Cuba. She has served two, part-time terms with AmeriCorps and currently volunteers as a Team Leader for Higher Achievement at Brookline Middle School in the District. Yasmine also works as the Student Coordinator for Intercultural Programs at the Center for Cultural Engagement on her campus. Once she graduates she wants to work at nonprofit organizations that focus in educational programs and reforms.”
Jasmin is 18-years-old and interning with Hola Cultura for her second summer. Her parents brought her to the United States seven years ago. She says, “I have only lived in Washington D.C. since I arrived. I just graduated from Bell Multicultural High School and will attend UDC Community College in the fall and later transfer after two years to a four year college. I plan to study psychology, creative writing, and French. I draw from time to time, but write short stories more often. I hope to someday write a novel based on the life of my dad.”
Josue is a 22-year-old from El Salvador who came to United Stated 4 years ago. He earned his GED in 2014, while studying at The Next Step charter school. After receiving his GED, he enrolled in information technology classes at LAYC Career Academy. While he was not able to finish the program due to personal reasons, he would like to continue his education and improve his English skills because he knows that learning is the key to building a better life and career opportunities in the future. While he sometimes makes mistakes, he tries to learn from them as he works on his personal development. “I’m here trying to learn news things,” he says, of his summer internship with Hola Cultura.
Julianna is a student at James Madison University majoring in Health Sciences and Public Health Education. She first interned with Hola Cultura during the summer of 2015 and has assumed a leadership position this summer as the supervisor of our Summer Youth Employment Program participants. Born in a small town on the outskirts of Philadelphia, she moved to Washington D.C. when she was 12-years-old and quickly became a city girl. She was born into a family that appreciates all cultures and languages, and as a result loves to travel and try new things. Julianna hopes to work with the Latino community in preventative health in order to “help people help themselves.”
Katie is a sophomore at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota studying economics and geography, although she has lived in the DC area for most of her life. At Hola Cultura she is the GIS intern. She enjoys yoga and reading in her free time. Katie is excited to be working on GIS projects to benefit DC’s Latino community this summer.
Leul is Ethiopian-born citizen who came to United States three years ago and lived in Texas for two years before he moved to Washington, D.C. to live with his father. Leul has attended four different high school in his life and has made an impact at each school with his leadership skills and positive attitude. In his senior year, he served in Roosevelt High School JROTC program as the battalion commander, honing his leadership skills by leading more than 50 Cadets. In the fall, Leul will start college at Wittenberg University, where he has received a scholarship.
Ronal is 15-year-old student who is interning with Hola Cultura for his second summer. He says, “I love playing soccer and enjoy reading a few pages of a book before going to sleep. What I like doing the most is going out with my friends—either biking or just going out for a bite. I’m always trying to find new ways to keep myself occupied with different things, I hate feeling bored.”
Yabsera is a rising senior at Goucher College studying women, gender, and sexuality and Africana studies. She is invested in how race, class, gender, sexuality and other identities intersect and work with each other. In her free time she enjoys going to museums, spoken word events and poetry readings.
Alyssa Anderson, Editorial Intern
Alyssa is a student at American University studying journalism and Spanish. By interning at Hola Cultura, Alyssa has had the opportunity to combine these two passions into one great experience. In her free time, Alyssa likes going to dance classes, playing with dogs, and exploring DC.
Brenda Huerta, Editorial Intern
Brenda is an environmental engineer by education, but a writer at heart. She studied at Tecnologico de Monterrey, and worked as a renewable energy engineer in a big cookie company for a while. She moved to D.C. in search of adventure and opportunities to make this world a better place. She is an intern at Hola Cultura, writing stories about amazing Latino artists, events, and cultural experiences. For more than six years, she has written for several national magazines in Mexico. What she enjoys the most is creative writing, and has won national awards in Mexico for short stories. A fun fact about Brenda: She has a book obsession! You can find her eating Mexican food, reading or writing, or book hunting at the nearest book shop.
Herbert Ramirez, Photography Intern
Herbert is a talented photographer with strong communication skills in English, Spanish, his mother’s native Ixil Mayan language. He started working with Hola Cultura during summer 2015, making a series of photo portraits that helped document our special research project on affordable housing and the impact of changing city demographics on D.C.’s Latino community. He graduated from Woodrow Wilson Senior High School in Northwest D.C. in 2010 and currently works full time while studying psychology at UDC Community College in Northeast Washington. Herbert started volunteering with Hola Cultura in the summer of 2015.
Cristian Cruz is a 14-year-old Washington resident who joined Hola Cultura’s youth program last summer and decided to continue working with us this fall. Originally from El Salvador, he moved to Washington two years ago and E.L Hayes High School, where he enters 9th grade in the fall. He’s a soccer fan and aspires to graduating high school and attending college.
Josue Francisco Buruca is an 18-year-old Washington DC resident. He is originally from El Salvador and moved to D.C a year ago. He is currently enrolled in Next Step Public Charter School and will take his GED in the fall. He participated in Hola Cultura’s summer 2015 youth program, as well, and aspires to study engineering in college and one day become a Systems Engineer.
Ingrid, another summer 2015 intern who continues to work with Hola Cultura, is a 19-year-old graduate of Cardozo High School in Columbia Heights. She would like to go to college to become a pediatrician but for now, she hopes to attend community college and get a job.
Lucia del Carmen Jimenez
This is Lucia’s second semester interning with Hola Cultura, an organization that has given her the great opportunity of working while learning and growing tremendously in confidence. She is a second year student at American University, currently double majoring in International Studies and Foreign Language and Communications Media. A hopeless foodie, one thing that gives her great pleasure in life (after baby animals) is a scrumptious meal, along with exploring new cuisines around the D.C. area. In her spare time she enjoys reading for pleasure and for research and watching TED talks or Crash Courses.
Nancy Reyes is a 17-year-old rising senior at Cardozo High School, originally from El Salvador. She would like to go to college and become a lawyer. But if she’s unable to go to college, she may get her cosmetology license. In ten years, she sees herself married with one child, a good job and a car. This is Nancy’s second semester working with Hola Cultura. She also took part in our Summer 2015 youth program.
Ronal Reyes is14-years-old and loves playing soccer. He also really likes the Chinese food at the eatery, Panda Express. He’s a big gamer and highly competitive. He always tries his hardest to win.
Byron A. Marroquin
Byron is a graduate student at the University of Maryland majoring in Geographical Sciences. His academic interests include understanding population and neighborhood change dynamics, as well as gentrification through mapping. His main hobbies are playing pickup basketball and traveling. He aspires to become an educator.
Cristian is a 14-year-old Washington resident. Originally from El Salvador, he moved to Washington two years ago and E.L Hayes High School, where he enters 9th grade in the fall. He’s a soccer fan and aspires to graduating high school and attending college.
Elvis graduated in May 2015 from the University of Maryland with a bachelor’s degree in Geographical Information Systems. Currently he is working on a remote sensing project, using satellite imagery to classify different type of land cover throughout the country of Peru. During my internship at Hola Cultura, I will be gathering 2015 data of Hispanic businesses, Spanish speaking churches, and health and education centers for Hispanic in Washington D.C. then use the data to create a visual map.
Emily is a rising sophomore at Kenyon College. She is an English and sociology double-major who believes that the media can play a vital role in amplifying the voices of people from all walks of life. At school, she hosts a radio show called The Emilplu Show and interns at the Kenyon Review, her school’s literary magazine. She hopes to one day become a magazine writer. She is grateful to Hola Cultura for this wonderful opportunity.
Esteffany, 18, is originally from El Salvador and will be a senior at Bell High School in the fall. After graduation, she would like to work and go to college later on. Her goal is to study hotel management and eventually become the manager of a hotel. She has a strong religious faith, and she say, God willing, she’s also get married and have a meaningful life guided by her faith.
Francisco is an 18-year-old Washington DC resident. He is originally from El Salvador and moved to D.C a year ago. He is currently enrolled in Next Step Public Charter School and will take his GED in the fall. He aspires to study engineering in college and one day become a Systems Engineer.
Gilberto, a 17-year-old originally from El Salvador, will be a senior at Bell Multicultural High School in the fall. He’s like to go to college and study business administration. I loves spending time with friends and family, and likes meeting new people. Within a few years, he hold to finish college and begin a professional career.
Ingrid is a 19-year-old graduate of Cardozo High School in Columbia Heights. She would like to go to college to become a pediatrician but for now, she hopes to attend community college and get a job.
Jasmin is 17-years-old. She is in her senior year of high school and was born in El Salvador. She has a brother who was born in the United States. She came to the US when she just before she turned 11-years-old, in time to start middle school. Her favorite subjects are literature, chemistry and history. She wants to be an author of novels and nonfiction.
Julianna is a rising senior at James Madison University majoring in Health Sciences and Public Health Education. Born in a small town on the outskirts of Philadelphia, she moved to Washington D.C. when she was 12-years-old and quickly became a city girl. She was born into a family that appreciates all cultures and languages, and as a result loves to travel and try new things. Julianna hopes to work with the Latino community in preventative health in order to “help people help themselves.”
Nicholas Anthony John
Nicholas is a student majoring in GIS and minoring in sustainability studies and remote sensing of environmental change at the University of Maryland, College Park. He has strong roots in Washington D.C. and the region, having lived for a short time in the District as a child. He currently resides in southern Maryland. “I am interested in understanding Hispanic culture and its history in DC. “I am especially interested in developing my GIS skills and using them to analyze Hispanic settlement patterns in D.C.,” Nicholas says.
Nancy is a 17-year-old rising senior at Cardozo High School, originally from El Salvador. She would like to go to college and become a lawyer. But if she’s unable to go to college, she may get her cosmetology license. In ten years, she sees herself married with one child, a good job and a car.
Oliver is a sociologist specializing in ethnography. He received his B.A. from Texas A&M University in 2014 and will begin graduate studies in the fall of 2015 at Louisiana State University. His past research has examined disaster recovery efforts related to the Bastrop County, Texas, wildfire of 2011, and human-computer interaction research for the Interface Ecology Lab of Texas A&M. This internship with Hola Cultura is his first time taking a journalistic approach to his work. He is excited to have the opportunity to report on Latino arts and culture in the District of Columbia.
Ronal is14-years-old and loves playing soccer. He also really likes the Chinese food at the eatery, Panda Express. He’s a big gamer and highly competitive. He always tries his hardest to win.
Samuel Antonio García
Samuel Antonio, who goes by Antonio, was born in México and has also lived in Arizona y Texas. He likes boxing and basketball. He also likes to cook, particularly the delicious Mexican dish, carnitas. He’s 21-years-old and attended the Washington D.C. high school, Next Step Public Charter School. In the future, he’d like to like to work at a job where he could help people, especially children and old people.
Airica is a Chicago native currently studying Spanish Studies with a minor in Literature and a Certificate of Translation at American University. A Real Madrid fan and avid reader, some of Airica’s other hobbies include cooking, drawing and gardening.
Edgar is an undergraduate student of business development and marketing at the Technological University of León in Mexico. He considers himself a daydreamer with many projects in mind. He speaks Italian and wants to improve his English. Edgar enjoys to teach Italian and going to the movies with his girlfriend. Soccer is one of his passions and he often writes about his favorite team. He wants to become a great journalist but he knows the road starts at Hola Cultura.
Kristin is a freshman at American University, majoring in Spanish Studies with a minor in Chinese Studies. She is from Fort Washington, Maryland. In her free time, Kristin enjoys reading, writing, and above all, learning new languages. Kristin fell in love with the Spanish language when she first began learning it in middle school, and hopes to gain more knowledge about the Latino community and culture by working with Hola Cultura.
John is an undergraduate in the School of International Service at American University. He is studying Spanish and enjoys learning about Latino culture and his mother’s own Peruvian heritage. In his spare time John enjoys watching funny YouTube videos, playing video games, and learning about new languages and cultures. He is passionate about advocating for equal rights and for fair representation under the law and in mainstream media for all identities. John enjoys helping people and wants to improve his filmography skills in hopes of making his own YouTube channel one day.
Lucia del Carmen Jimenez
Lucia has lived in the Washington DC area her entire life but hopes to spread her wings and leave it in the near future. She has always loved to work alongside people with different cultural backgrounds, therefore her dream job would allow her to do so professionally. What she is trying to figure out now is what that dream job would be and how she could achieve it. For the moment however, she is a freshman studying International Relations at American University, but she’s also fascinated by languages and enthralled by literature.
Sarah is a junior at American University in the School of International Service, studying International Studies and Spanish. In her free time, she enjoys writing, visiting museums throughout DC, traveling and learning new languages. After studying abroad in Madrid, Sarah fell in love with art history and hopes to gain more insight on Latino art and culture through the time she spends with Hola Cultura.
Selene Ramirez Rosales
Selene is an undergraduate student at the Autonomous University of Zacatecas in Mexico where her major is Software Engineering. She enjoys passing the day looking photos in Instagram and finding a new fashion blog. Her passions are programming, traveling, sleeping, and cooking. Her favorite word in English is “Serendipity” which means a happy accident. Her principal goal right now is to finish her bachelor degree and eventually get a master’s degree, as well as to improve her English. She also wants to develop applications in Android.
Magdiel Antonio Ramos
Magdiel was born in the Mexican state of Oaxaca in 1995, and has lived there most of his life. He is studying a bachelors degree in gastronomy at the Technological University of Oaxaca, and enjoys traveling and reading. A musician who has performed in bands and orchestras, he enjoys attending concerts, as well. His mission in life is to become a culinary entrepreneur and create a food industry brand that will one day be known for preserving local recipes.
Alexia was born in Georgetown in the ’90’s and currently resides in Maryland. She is a junior at James Madison University, studying technical communication and creative writing. Her passion for Latin culture was instilled in her at an early age due to her Honduran descent and was heighted after attending Maryland’s Hispanic Youth Symposium in 2010. “Being a minority, one may find it easier blending in with the majority. I always thought so until I took the time to soak in the essence of Latino culture and family. Today, I’m proud to be part of the minority!” She is a member of James Madison University’s LatinoStudent Alliance.
Bria is a junior at Salisbury University where she studies Journalism, Public Relations, and Business Administration. A Washington D.C. local, she is excited about culture and language and plans to start a magazine integrating cultures in the future. In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing and exploration. This summer she hopes to improve her writing skills and dive deeper into Latin culture.
Vladimir has lived in Washington DC for all 17 years of his life. From El Salvadorian family, he is a senior at Cesar Chavez Public Charter School for Public Policy on Capitol Hill. His favorite subject in school is math, which he enjoys because it’s easy most of the time, “especially when it gets a bit challenging,” he says. Vladimir loves to play soccer, a sport he has a huge passion for. He would like to become a soccer player one day.
Alicia is a student at the University of Texas at Austin where her major is in Latin American studies with a concentration in Portuguese. Some of her passions include learning new languages, traveling, photography, and volunteering. Alicia wants to do something exciting and fulfilling with life. Her mission is to be a social entrepreneur and to raise awareness of the positive contributions of Latin Americans in the United States. She grew up in a Mexican household and is currently working on learning her mother’s traditional Mexican recipes. After she graduates she hopes to work for a non-profit and eventually get a master’s degree in public affairs.
Kelvin is a senior at Cesar Chavez Public Charter School for Public Policy. He is an athletic and laid back person who has joined us this summer for his three-week fellowship. He is excited to learn more about the Hispanic culture and the DC’s history. He plans on attending Potomac State College in West Virginia when he finishes high school. He believes in helping the youth and wants to become a social worker. He wants to prove to the world that he can make it out of the struggle and live a good life.
Natalia’s interest lies in studying cultures and languages. She believes this is a result of her multicultural background; Her mother has Italian heritage and was born in Haiti, while her father is of Lebanese descent. She is a student at Montgomery College and hopes to earn an associates degree in the fall in international business. After that, she hopes to transfer to the University of Maryland to study International Business and minor in Spanish.
Natalia is a senior at American University working on a B.S. in Economics and a B.A. in International Studies. She grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she gained a passion for learning about other cultures. She spends her free time exploring Washington, D.C., reading, cooking and traveling whenever she gets the chance.
Tori is a junior at American University studying Journalism and Spanish language. Originally from Feasterville, Penn., a suburb of Philadelphia, she loves living in D.C., and is mesmerized by all of the food, art, music and excitement that the city offers. She spends her free time perfecting her guacamole recipe, completing crossword puzzles, and avoiding the Metro’s Red Line. This semester, she vows to find the District’s best papusa.
Alex is a senior majoring in history with a minor in anthropology at American University. Originally from Midland Park, New Jersey, Alex grew up in a household with a Peruvian heritage, which has played a significant factor in his current interests. Speaking both Spanish and Quechua, he focuses on colonial Andean history and hopes to continue his studies abroad next year in Cusco, after which he hopes to enter a graduate program in Latin American history.
Sam is a native of Nantucket Island, Mass. and will be graduating from American University in May 2014. Majoring in International Studies with an Economics minor, Sam plans on pursuing a career in journalism following his graduation. He previously reported from Nairobi, Kenya where he also spent time studying. He’s most interested in international affairs, urbanization, and traditional cultures.
Born and raised in Upstate New York, Cathleen is a freshman at American University, where she is both on the pre-medical track and studying Spanish and Latin America. Washington is a big change from her small town; however, she enjoys the cultural experiences that a city like D.C. provides. She sings in an acapella group and loves the arts, including photography, and sports such as tennis and lacrosse. She hopes to become a doctor traveling to developing countries on day. Cathleen continues volunteering with Hola Cultura the spring of 2014, as well.
Camila is a undergraduate student at American University. She has a passion for writing and learning about different cultures. She aspires to a career in the communication field to educate people about the issues that Latin Americans face in different communities.
Tranelle is a native of the D.C. metropolitan area. She attends American University where she hopes to pursue a degree in foreign language and communication media. In her off time, she loves to read, travel, dance, and explore.
Matthew is a member of the American University class of 2015. He is studying foreign language and communication media with concentrations in public communication and Spanish. Last spring, he had the opportunity to use his language skills during six weeks of classes and internships in Madrid.
Fatima was born in El Salvador; She came to the United States at age of eight. Now 15-years-old, she goes to McKinley Technology High School, where she is a sophomore. Fatima loves to read fiction such as the Twilight series. Fatima’s favorite subject is Science. She plans to be a geologist one day.
“While truly a small town girl from Mystic, Connecticut, I find myself in the midst of the District,” says Francesca, who is entering her senior year at American University, where she is working toward a Spanish & Latin American Studies degree, and a Spanish/English Translation Certificate. “I live to explore, embrace, and empathize with other cultures, foods, and customs. I have an affinity for giving, coffee, dark chocolate, traveling, and big cities. I hope to open my own coffee shop one day.”
Jose attends Bell Multicultural High School, where he is a senior. His favorite subject is math. And he also loves to play soccer. When Jose finishes high school, he plans to become a soccer coach. His favorite soccer coach is Pep Guardiola, the Spanish manager of the German FB Bayern München team, because he has won five soccer titles with the same team. One day, Jose says he would like to be famous like Guardiola.
The exposure of culture is the attraction that gravitates Ashley’s motivation for storytelling. “As a graduate from California State University Northridge with degrees in Journalism and Central American Studies, my story interests lie within the diverse community surrounding me,” she says. “While having the opportunity to study in Costa Rica and travel throughout Central America, these experiences have provided me a direction and reminder of why my pen and paper is the starting point to tell the beauty, struggles, and sacrifices underrepresented communities share within society. Although in my free time I do enjoy the pura vida lifestyle whether it’s enjoying the company of friends and family or searching for a good novel at the library these are the moments I wouldn’t miss.”
Edwin was born Washington, D.C., and has lived all his life in the Columbia Heights neighborhood. Never having left the city, or even the block he grew up in, Martinez witnessed the nation’s capital transform from the ’90s to what it is today. Being an advocate for arts education, Edwin has been apart of nonprofits that use arts education to inspire youth, such as Words, Beats & Life, and Young Playwrights Theater. Martinez graduated from Bell Multicultural High School and is currently attending Montgomery College and continues writing for Hola Cultura.
Fanny is a proud Latina raised by a single mother. “I am part of the next generation that will continue to help those in the community have a voice,” says the 15-year-old who goes to Cesar Chavez Public Charter School Capital Hill. “I am Mexican-Salvadorian Latina from DC. Descendant of strong women who never give up and always try their best in everything. I am a fan of music and always exploring interesting places. I am an adventure looking for the next story in my life.”
Gustavo is a Colombian-born student who enjoys sports as well as eating well. In the future, he see’s himself as civil rights lawyer in order to challenge racism in his homeland. One day, he hopes to become the president of Colombia.
Gabrielle is 17 years old and recently graduated from School Without Walls. Her favorite colors are dark blue and lime green. She will be attending Eastern Mennonite University this fall, majoring in nursing. Gabby also, loves to cook and bake. Red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting are her favorite thing to bake.