Inspiring Latina of the Week: Entomology Professor & Bee Researcher Dr. Juliana Rangel-Posada

What advice would you give to other Latinas who want to get into teaching and research such as yourself?

I would encourage any and all Latinas that want to pursue a career in teaching or research to follow their interests and work hard to obtain their goals. I did not grow up with a lot of financial resources, but one of the beauties of this country is that there are a lot of ways to finance higher education while still being able to work and make a living. There might be sacrifices to be made at the beginning, and there might be very steep learning curves to surpass along the way, but all those hardships are worth the effort, because the satisfaction of obtaining a degree in a field of one’s true interests is incredibly satisfying. 

If you are inclined to teach, or to perform research, or both, this country needs your expertise and culturally diverse background! Women in science occupy a niche that is unique and indispensible to have a more balanced and diverse society. I encourage every girl, every Latin woman, to follow their true interests and continue their education so that one day they can influence the mind of other Latinas in the classroom or laboratory. There is nothing more satisfying than imparting the gift of knowledge to a student. This career path is not for everyone, but the satisfaction that you get from it is absolutely worthwhile!

What gives you the most pride about being a Latina?

Latinas are driven, spontaneous, hard working, generous, and passionate in all we do. I am very proud of being Colombian and Latina, and feel that I can contribute aspects of my culturally diverse background to the people in this wonderful country that I now call home.  Because of my humble beginnings, I feel I am more aware of the vast opportunities available to people to pursue the career of their dreams in the United States, so I am always grateful that I had my upbringing and that I am able to see how one can pursue one’s dreams with dedication and hard work. Especially if you’re a Latina!

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