announcement to apply for the Latinas Learning
to Lead Program
in Washington, D.C., jumped out at me,” Ballesteros said. “I thought, ‘I would
really love to be part of this program, so I’ll apply and see if I get in.’”
the deadline in early May with no time to spare, Ballesteros held her breath
for about a month until receiving the exciting message that she had been
selected as one of 22 female students from throughout the United States to
participate in the 2013 summer program of the National Hispana
celebrating its 25th anniversary year.
the conference was such an amazing week for me,” Ballesteros said. “Everything
was so carefully planned – we were busy from early morning until late every
evening – and I learned so much and came back incredibly inspired.”
their home in a dormitory at The Catholic University
the group attended classes held in university facilities during the first two
days of the conference. Starting on day three, they ventured forth to tour the sights,
witness Congress in session from the House of Representatives viewers’ gallery
and attend presentations by motivational speakers.
the speakers was Marisa Rivera, the President of Mpowerment Works, a
consulting firm with a focus on empowering
and impacting women to become agents of social change.
“Ms. Rivera was such an impressive speaker,” Ballesteros
said. “She stressed the need for more Latina women to enter the professional
world, that few Latina women are in powerful positions; and that is what we saw
when we visited the House of Representatives, where it was pretty much all
day was devoted to job shadowing. Ballesteros was matched to spend the day at
the National Education Association with Delia
Garcia, Senior Liaison for the Latino American Community in the Office of
Minority Community Organizing and Partnerships.
shadowing day was very reassuring that I am where I want to be – in education,”
plans a career in guidance and counseling. She will graduate from UTB in
December of this year with her Bachelor of
Applied Arts and Sciences with a concentration in psychology and sociology.
Currently in the process of applying to graduate school, she plans to attain a Master of
Education in Guidance and Counseling.
2009 Harlingen High School graduate, Ballesteros is the second to last of 10
children, and the first in her family to achieve a higher education degree. She
earned her Associate of Culinary Arts from Texas State Technical College in Harlingen.
By the time she received her degree, however, she knew her calling was guidance
and counseling in education, prompting her to continue her studies at UTB.
at TSTC, Ballesteros worked as a peer mentor at the Office of Student Success
where her job was to help students on academic probation.
was always calling or texting my students, constantly trying to motivate them
to be successful in their classes,” she said. “Many students are uncomfortable
approaching professors, or even staff, yet they could talk to me, since we were
about the same age and in the same boat. I found it to be worthwhile work, and
especially rewarding when I got positive feedback from my students and they
were doing well.”
transferring to UTB in August of 2012, Ballesteros has continued working with
students as an Upward Bound tutor at Rio Hondo
High School. With classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, she worked at the high
school on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Over the first six weeks of this summer, she accompanied her Rio
Hondo Upward Bound students during their on-campus residential experience as a
Resident Assistant in Casa Bella, UTB’s student
housing. This fall, she will return to being a tutor at the high school. After
graduation from UTB, Ballesteros hopes to continue with Upward Bound as an academic
advisor for the next three years while she works on her master’s degree.