26 (27 in April)
Bachelors and Masters in Occupational Health from Idaho State University
PC: Health Sector
Fun Fact: Has a dog named Mustard, that she is training for therapy work with people
I wanted to join since like the 7th grade. I went to the library and researched it on my own and just fell in love with it. After I got my Masters, in 2013, I decided to commit to it.
How are you adjusting to Nicaragua? Is it living up to your expectations?
It’s not so bad because I’ve had experiences in India. So I just keep reminding myself, this is not as bad as it can be. I didn’t really have any expectations, aside from my Spanish. I expected to struggle but it’s not an issue. My host family is very patient with me.
What’s your family like? Did they ask about your hair? How long have you been growing them?
They are awesome. They take me everywhere and ask me many questions to practice my Spanish. They haven’t asked me about my hair directly but my family has politely stared at it. She asked to touch it the one time I had it down and asked what my parents, specifically my grandparents, thought about it. I’ve been growing them for about 8 months.
What do you plan to do after the Peace Corps?
No idea. I’m playing it by ear. I have been planning for the Peace Corps since the 7th grade, I am ready to see where life takes me afterward, no planning involved.
What did you do before?
School, and traveling jobs through the states. I went to Europe, India, got certified to teach yoga then hung out with my family.
What’s one thing your host family has taught you?
They taught me that humor doesn’t need a language. We laugh and joke a ton despite the language barrier.
What’s your greatest accomplishment so far in life?
It wasn’t being financially stable, although that’s a big thing in my family or getting my Bachelors and Master’s despite being the first female in my family to do it. It was my grandpa, who I affectionately call “my a-hole grandpa” and I finally being able to connect on another level and having him tell me how proud he is of me.
How long have you been into health?
Since forever. When people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grow up I would always say some type of doctor. The last answer i can remember giving was neurosurgeon.
Have you ever been out of the country before?
Yes, I’ve been to Spain, Italy, Europe, London, India and Mexico.
What do you miss most about America?
I am going to miss the snow.
What are your favorite hobbies?
It depends on where I am. In Texas, I liked paddle boating, yoga, climbing, and backpacking.
What is your greatest fear about being here?
I think it’s not realizing that I am enough or knowing my inner strength. It’s like the more I say it, the more I can actualize it. You know?
I began planning for the Refresher in January of this year and actually made it public in March.The Refresher is an e-newsletter/blog that caters to Black women by bringing informative, empowering and transparent content directly to your email every Monday. We also, have a blog where topics that don’t fit into the newsletter are discussed.
What is your mission?
Our mission is to uplift the different facets of young, Black womanhood because we are burdened with stereotypes that heavily impact our daily lives. This generation of young, Black women are just movers and shakers; we are creators and entrepreneur; we are scientists and engineers- which I really want to highlight. However, some of us also suffer with depression, anxiety, perfectionism or procrastination, problems finding ourselves or finding our purpose! We suffer from misogynoir (Misogynoir refers to anti-black misogyny, where race and gender together are factors in the hatred of black women.), racism within the educational/ workplace and just a plethora of things that need to be addressed. My goal is for the Refresher to manifest a platform where Black women can be transparent about our issues, where we can grow together and support one another. To empower us to be unapologetically ourselves. No one understands us, quite like us. We control our narrative and I just want to inspire us to keep going because it is hard and on weeks when a young woman feels low or like she’s stuck, our goal is to be that sisterhood rooting for her.
Why did you start this?
Womens’ rights are my passion and I just hope it radiates through the Refresher.
How do you compile the information or highlights in your weekly newspaper?
My content is derived mostly from my background in social justice. I’ve been active in my community as far as legislation and outreach so a lot of my content has a political undertone. However, through that I’ve met a lot of amazing Black women and network with them. I’ve had a business before where I mostly worked with Black women who now have thriving businesses and I want to include their accomplishments! And I through social media! I use social media heavily as well as word of mouth and personal contacts.
What’s your response to people to potential readers who aren’t black?
They’re welcome to read and subscribe. I actually am open to feminist circles allowing this platform to be welcomed into many of their spaces where they lack inclusivity and understanding of black women. In many of those circles they don’t understand our “humanness”, for lack of a better word. However this space is designed for Black women- so that won’t change. The content will remain for us, about us and by us.
What do you hope comes from this weekly subscription?
Genuinely, I just hope it inspires young, Black women to keep going. We have so many adversaries, so just to be a weekly reminder of your strength, uniqueness, your wonder and ability. That Black excellence is more than just accolades and degrees, sometimes it’s just waking up in the morning. I hope it inspires someone to keep going knowing that she has a plethora of sisters rooting for her. Also, to eventually have a network of black professional women and continue building from there.
I think your passion is amazing. How long have you been doing this?
Thank you! You are so amazing! I actually launched my first newsletter last Monday! However I’ve been blogging for about a year now and decided I needed to blog with a purpose and start over.
Why should someone subscribe?
I read that if you’re surrounded by five successful people you’ll be the sixth. Same for happiness and wealth. Therefore, I believe people should subscribe to the Refresher Weekly because of our plan to expose young, Black and ambitious millennial women to each other on a transparent medium. It’s ok here to be broken, to be stressed, uneasy or lost. Unlike many media facets, we focus on genuine content. By featuring successful Black women, along with their weekly struggles, as well as being a strong form of weekly encouragement and affirmations, we plan to manifest those circles.
Name: Smiley Rojas-Nuñez
Studied Accounting, at Albany SUNY (Albany, NY), with a minor in Latin American/Caribbean History
PC: Business Sector
Fun Fact: A fun fact um… I’ve been hit by a car before in a hit and run accident.
[Me: O_O Smiley that’s a terrible fun fact! Smiley: how? I lived!]
To perfect my Spanish and hopefully get closer to understanding the kind of career I want to have moving forward.
What’s your greatest accomplishment in life so far?
Being able to acquire numerous scholarships during college helping me to travel the world while receiving a quality education.
What’s your dream job?
I want to help write trade laws between countries. The way they are currently written, someone always loses. There’s a tax but no true equilibrium in trade. I want there to be a better balance in global trade, where you give the things you have excessive of and actually get what you need.
How many countries have you been to?
8 (China, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Nicaragua)
What’s the most beautiful place you’ve been to?
The most beautiful place I’ve been to is Rio de Janeiro Brazil.
What’s a place you want to see?
I want to go see the Aurora lights.
What’s your life advice to the world?
Get up and reach out at every opportunity made available to you You don’t know what you’re missing out on whether it’s an opportunity, advice or a chance to change your mindset about something if you only ever stay within your comfort zone. Try new things whenever you can.
What’s the most interesting thing you packed to come to Nicaragua?
I packed dance slippers, made for hardwood floors. I love dancing.
What did traveling give you?
It opened my mind to realize the world is bigger than I could imagine.
Who has made the biggest impact on your life? Why?
My mother has made the biggest impact on my life because her immigration story made me realize that I can’t really complain about any of the first world problems I might have to deal with in my day to day life.
Who’s your favorite superhero and why?
Wolverine. I like Wolverine because although physically he is immortal, the way issues affect him emotionally makes him feel human.
What is your biggest fear?
That I was ever perceived as inauthentic.
I’m enjoying the last day of Semana Santa. All the parades are just like this, some figure replica on top of large beams, carried by several men throughout the town. Usually people join in and walk behind it, making it a huge procession, which is what they call it here not parade.