iPrep's Creative Writing class was challenged to write for Miami Dade Public School's Women's History Month Essay Contest. Here are some of our best! Enjoy reading about these amazing women.
By Dawson McNamara-Bloom, Senior
In the era of Trump, the Republicans have control over two branches of government. The Notorious Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG) is the sole reason they don’t have control of the third. Her whole life has been spent fighting for those that the government has discriminated against in some way. Since being appointed to the court by President Clinton back in 1993, Justice Ginsburg has represented the liberal voice on the court with a fervent passion and has always worked to ensure every American is protected by the legal system regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, or skin color.
Before Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a Supreme Court Justice, she was a pragmatic attorney. Her pragmatism stems from her understanding that progress doesn’t happen overnight. That is why, when she represented the American Civil Liberties Unions fighting for women’s rights, she filed multiple suits that slowly advanced rights as opposed to filing for a landmark win that may or may not happen. She fought to make sure that military members husbands got the same housing allowances as other military members wives. Her work on these issues earned her praise from her future colleague, Antonin Scalia, who had this to say about her work: “she became the leading (and very successful) litigator on behalf of women's rights—the Thurgood Marshall of that cause, so to speak." Despite their often disagreement on these issues, he was able to appreciate her hard work and skill as a litigator.
Her work as a litigator earned her another fan, President Jimmy Carter, who appointed her to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. There she earned the reputation as a moderate who was excellent at her job. Her work there convinced Republican senator Orrin Hatch to urge Attorney General Reno to recommend her name to President William Jefferson Clinton. Ruth Bader Ginsburg flew through confirmation hearings garnering 96 votes with only 3 against her. With this vote, she became only the second woman ever confirmed to the Supreme Court and the first nominated by a Democrat President.
Since taking her spot on the bench, Justice Ginsburg has relentlessly represented the liberal voice on the court on issues relating to civil rights. Just three years after being put on the court she authored the majority opinion in the case United States v. Virginia which struck down the “separate but equal” all female military school and forced the Virginia Military Institute to accept female students as this was a violation of the Equal Protection Clause. However, while her majority opinions are strong, her dissents are where Justice Ginsburg truly shines. In the case Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire. There Ginsburg wrote a scathing dissent in which she essentially mocked her more conservative colleagues for their caustic way of dealing with gender discrimination.
Overall, Justice Ginsburg’s work in the public and private sector has brought great change and extended rights to people previously not included. She has advanced progress significantly throughout her life and will continue to do so as long as she can.
"FindLaw's the United States Supreme Court case and opinions."Findlaw. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Mar.
Carmon, Irin, and Shana Knizhnik. Notorious RBG: the life and times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. New
York: Dey St., 2015. Print.
"LEDBETTER v. GOODYEAR TIRE & RUBBER CO." LEDBETTER v. GOODYEAR TIRE & RUBBER
CO.N.p., 27 Nov. 2006. Web. 17 Mar. 2017.
“More Than Just A Math Teacher”
By Leila Alfaro, Senior
Lisa Hauser is a Hispanic math teacher at iPreparatory Academy. She was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela, where she earned a full scholarship to Williams College in Massachusetts. At Williams College, she completed a double major in mathematics and psychology. Lisa traveled the United States before settling down in Miami, Florida, in her current teaching position. Before iPrep, she worked at William H. Turner Technical Arts High School, Florida Virtual School, and eGroups with Google founder’s brother. Her experience with different jobs has helped her become a great teacher and a community leader who is actively engaged in her community.
Lisa Hauser currently teaches Algebra 2, Calculus AB and Calculus BC. During my sophomore year, I experienced her teaching style: personalize instructions based on the students’ needs. For instance, during my sophomore year, I had neglected math to the point of receiving C average grades, which had always been unusual for an over-achiever student like myself. Upon entering her class that year, I would easily get frustrated, but Ms. Hauser consistently offered her time to me after school to explain the problems of the problems in a way that I understood. Her extraordinary commitment to her students’ education assists students to improve and fall in love with the study of mathematics and reach their full potential.
Lisa’s passion for helping others extends past the walls of her classroom; she introduced the club Girls Who Code to girls of all ages at iPrep. Ms. Hauser encouraged former iPrep student, Maria Mejia, to participate in the Girls Who Code Summer Immersion program that inspired Maria to bring Girls Who Code to iPrep, and Ms. Hauser immediately took the challenge to sponsor the club and recruit girls. Most importantly, Ms. Hauser has been a role model to young girls in the fields of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). Girls Who Code at iPrep has been thriving with the immense support from Ms. Hauser and she still greatly encourages young girls like Maria to achieve their dreams in STEM fields, even when it is stereotypically a “man’s career.”
Inspiring others does not stop in school for Ms. Hauser. Maria Mejia and Amy Renshaw, a Girls Who Code instructor, created a non-profit organization called Code Art that showcases the creative side of coding. Ms. Hauser accepted the idea of using the arts to inspire young girls to explore the fields of computer science and technology. According to The Miami Herald, she assisted with a symposium at Miami Dade College, aimed to young girls, for a competition and activities that raised $7,000 as scholarship money for girls to attend MDC’s gaming/anime program.
The incredible math teacher at iPrep is more than just an average math teacher. Ms. Hauser’s relentless effort to help others achieve and be greater than they are, both inside and outside of iPrep, has inspired many to believe in themselves and their skills, including myself. Lisa Hauser continues to selflessly help those around her, especially those who will be our future.
Dahlberg, Nancy. "Code Art Miami Funds MDC Scholarship to Encourage Women to
Get into Animation, Gaming." The Starting Gate. Miami Herald, 26 Apr. 2016.
Web. 10 Mar. 2017.
Laviolette, Julie Landry. "Blending Technology and Traditional Teaching Shows
Promise." Miami Herald. Miami Herald, 28 July 2015. Web. 10 Mar. 2017.
Hauser, Lisa. Personal Interview. 30 August 2016.
By Sterling Alic, Senior
Remember this name—Heidi Heitkamp.
Her career in the Senate began just four years ago, and her name is unrecognizable to many Americans outside of her home state of North Dakota, but she is making her mark as a trailblazer early in her political career in more ways than one. Senator Heitkamp is the first female senator to represent North Dakota, and, added onto other many first’s Heitkamp has traversed in her life--first generation college student and a campaign to become North Dakota’s first female governor--her story is symbolic of the American Dream.
Heitkamp grew up in a large family as the fourth child of seven in a small town of about 100 people. As the middle child, she was known, as her sister Thomasine said of her, as “the family arbitrator,” a skill that she would use throughout her unexpected political career. Heitkamp comes from humble beginnings--her father was an on and off construction worker and janitor while her mother was a school cook. She ventured out to the University of North Dakota as the first in her family to attend college. However, true to her roots, between the summers in college, she was a cleanup girl for Bridgeman’s Creamery, putting in many hours to scrape burnt chocolate milk out of 50-gallon vats, physical work that she is proud of and talks about excitedly.
After college and law school, she slowly gained ranks throughout the North Dakotan government, moving from tax commissioner to attorney general, naturally leading her to two of her largest political battles: the elections for governor and senator. Her campaign for governor was hard fought, but a roadblock that made it a personal battle as well is that Heitkamp discovered that she had breast cancer. She was thus restricted from campaigning and needed to undergo treatment, but she never pulled her name out of the race; she had come far to give up. That race would have made her the first female governor of North Dakota, a race that she ultimately lost. However, she rebounded. She now serves in the senate as the junior senator to the senator she originally lost the governorship in 2000. She works in the Senate as a member of the Indian Affairs and Agriculture committees, and what she calls her proudest work, her efforts to reduce violence against women, sponsoring bipartisan bills like the Bill to Combat Domestic Violence.
Although she is a more moderate candidate, she has built her career on steadfast principles that she has abided to during her entire time in the senate, values that tie into her own background in education and values that speak for those of all North Dakotans, such as Native American rights. Her skills at negotiation and compromise are truly remarkable, a quality that makes her the perfect example of what our democracy is truly about: bringing others in.
Camia, Catalina. "Democrats Promote Heitkamp in N.D. Senate Race." USA Today. Gannett
Satellite Information Network, 08 Nov. 2011. Web. 19 Mar. 2017.
McElwaine, Sandra. "Never Bet Against Senator Heidi Heitkamp, North Dakota's Rising Star."
The Daily Beast. The Daily Beast Company, 23 Jan. 2014. Web. 19 Mar. 2017.
Staff, Dickinson Press. "From 'cleanup Girl' to Senator: Heitkamp Talks of Working Class..." The
Dickinson Press. N.p., 24 Oct. 2013. Web. 19 Mar. 2017.
"War on Ideologies"
By Jethel Hernandez, Senior
Education always made me feel safe. School gave me the hope that one day I could perhaps craft a future for myself, the future I dreamed about, without the limitations that had become tradition in my family. Coming to the United States, was the first step to break the cycle: the cycle of oppression and false brotherhood that had limited me to a future of captivity in a paradise-like island. Going to a school where I was challenged to be creative and think “out- of the-box” was the gust of wind that woke me up. I started to believe that perhaps my life was not predestined, but merely at the feet of a broad destiny.
Reading Malala Yousafzai’s story only reminded me of my own arduous quest for liberty, education, and a future I could call mine. Malala and I know what oppression is like; the words of tyrants don’t change much from each end of the globe. Her oppression—physical—of bombs, terrorist attacks, and Talibans; Mine—intellectual—oppressed opinions, a war against “Diversionismo Ideologico”, and a genetic line of Dictators.
Bravery comes in many forms: it is the courage to fight for your country, it is the trust to pursue an idea regardless of others discouragements, bravery is not being afraid of being different, bravery is being strong enough to defy your fate and create a life that’s truly yours. Hence, in a month where we celebrate bravery in the feminine world, I could not think of anyone better than Malala. Merely a teenager, like me, Malala had the courage to challenge the misogynistic views of a Palestine society and religion that subjugates women. How can you be brave enough to defy the beliefs you have been raised by? How are you so brave that you grow regardless of others constant repress?
Malala empowered me to believe that I was not too naïve or too young to want something different for the women in my generation. She fought for girls’ right to education, something unthinkable in her society. I fight to defy gender roles in OUR society: women can be part of STEM careers, women deserve equal pay, women need access to funded Planned Parenthood…I fight for women’s choices.
However, being so brave is not always praised, for many Malala was just an insolent adolescent that disrespected the words of The Qur'an, the beliefs that had paved the masculinity of a religion. Nevertheless, Malala knew that her actions were not the ones that preached hate, isolation, and gender slavery; her words, instead, gave hope and strength to women in order to break the chains of domestic submission. Malala gave young women the resilience to believe that their futures were theirs: they didn’t only have to be mothers, daughters, and wives…they could be physicists, doctors, teachers, architects. Malala transformed their bland lives into beautiful stories of heroes with new perspectives, intellectualism, and power that could bring the much needed change and modernism.
And while Malala’s work is not one that takes one step, but many… she was a catalyst to start conversations and actions that will hopefully bring a new future for women all around the world who are abused by the male figure, religion, and political figures.
"Malala Yousafzai: Biographical" Nobelprize.org. 17 March, 2017.
The Malala Fund.https://www.malala.org/malalas-story. March 17, 2017.
"I Ask Questions"
By Angel Levros, Senior
As I am listening to my music and resting against the rustic, red wall, I can feel the soft yet aggressive taps on my shoulder. Removing one earphone, I turn towards my sister and gesture her to speak. “What movie are we watching?” she questions with a slight bored tone. Glancing around the room looking for my mother, I respond hiding my excitement; “Some stupid movie about African American women in NASA, all I know is Taraji P. Henson is one of the actress, so it can not be that boring.”
It was until after the movie; I went home and read the biography of Katherine Johnson, the strong, diligent women played by Taraji P Henson. Following reading the article, “Katherine G. Johnson Biography,” by Margot Lee Shetterly; I learned that Katherine Johnson was born to small town, in West Virginia. At the age of ten, Katherine finished the eighth grade, which was the highest-level education most African-American women achieved. She even graduated with summa cum laude at West Virginia State College, earning degrees in both mathematics and French at the age of eighteen. While, I could not relate to her passion for mathematics, I understood her motivation to pursue her profession. Her love for the subject overshadowed the obstacles. This encouraged me to remain as determined when choosing a future college. Comparing the obstacles she experienced like gender equality to my fear of leaving home seemed quite childish. Her courage motivates me to take on new experiences like leaving home.
Many times as a high school senior, I am asked the question; “ What are your career goals?” My response is quite simple, and direct: Prosecuting Attorney. Nonetheless, most people are shocked by my answer. Why? In the 21st century, minorities still face challenges gaining leading positions in workforce. Contrary to the society values, I let Katherine Johnson journey be an example to me. Caitlin Keating’s article, “Hidden Figures' Real-Life NASA Mathematician Katherine Johnson,” explains Katherine worked as a “ human computer,” someone who checked calculations for technological development. A year later, she applied for a job and was accepted the position at Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. Tim Ott’s article, “Katherine G. Johnson Biography, reports during this time she recalls, “The women did what they were told to do,” “They didn’t ask questions or take the task any further. I asked questions; I wanted to know why." Being an African American woman in a competitive field dominated by men did not intimidate Johnson away from pursuing her passion. She experienced many difficulties not only because of her race but also gender. Yet, Johnson continued to take on the tasks given to her like plotting the path for Alan Shepard, checking the machines for John Glenn orbit, and calculating Apollo 11 trip to the moon. Katherine’s courage to ask questions and continuously challenge societal views inspired me to defy gender roles. I was encouraged to pursue my passion because of her brave efforts in her field.
Keating, Caitlin. "Hidden Figures’ Real-Life NASA Mathematician Katherine Johnson: ‘If You Like What You’re Doing, You Will Do Well’." PEOPLE.com. Time Inc, 29 Jan. 2017. Web. 17 Mar. 2017.
Sheerly,Margot . "Katherine Johnson Biography." NASA. NASA, 22 Nov. 2016. Web. 17 Mar. 2017.
Ott, Tim. "Katherine G. Johnson." Biography.com. A&E Networks Television, 10 Oct. 2016. Web. 17 Mar. 2017.
"Speaking Out To Encourage Women"
By Sasha Torres, Senior
The first time I met Deborah Magdalena is when she presented information at my high school, iPreparatory Academy. Her presentation captivated me; she was outgoing, dramatic, and she knows how to connect with her audience. After her second presentation, I wanted to know more about this woman because I know she is an inspiration just by the way she encouraged one of my peers. After interviewing her, I realized that she is a hardworking and caring Puerto Rican women who has contributed happiness and wisdom to the community. She continuously makes a difference in people’s lives by representing the YoungArts Foundation, advocating speaking out, and empowering the youth.
Deborah is a spokesperson and recruiter; she visits schools all around Florida looking for talented students to apply to the YoungArts Foundation. According to Ms. Magdalena herself, YoungArts is something she enjoys doing for students, who will in the end, benefit from the foundation. She loves to share her talent and mentor others in order to inspire others to impact the world. Because Deborah is so sociable, she takes delight in being able to showcase her talents and work with YoungArts. This demonstrates that Ms. Magdalena is a very inspiring spokesperson. The moment she walks into a classroom it instantly becomes brighter.
Speaking up for oneself is a lesson everyone should either learn or be taught. Deborah works closely with many Spoken Word non-profit organizations that teach the youth to speak out. Additionally, Ms. Magdalena’s biography proudly notes, “Deborah was awarded the prestigious TAFARI Award 2013 for her work with women artists.” Deborah Magdalena makes it easy to feel loved and accepted, a quality an advocate should have. Her energy is contagious and dynamic. Having met her, her awards are no surprise. She works industriously to help people of all ages be confident and say what they feel.
Moreover, Deborah Magdalena empowers young people by involving herself with a camp called AlieyCamp Miami. As stated by, the Adrienne Arsht Center, this camp works with the youth, “Teaching over 110 middle school, underserved youth to find their life purpose and creativity through the art form of Spoken Word.” Thus, Ms. Magdalena spends her summers helping students from ages 11 to 14 find themselves. She writes and performs spoken word that has an immense impact on the students. She performs about significant events from the past and present, which informs the youth about everyday problems they might face. She teaches the students how to become independent and think for themselves.
Ultimately, Deborah Magdalena is a woman who works hard and truly inspires me. When she visited my school, she fascinated me with her optimistic attitude and inspired me to become more involved in my community as a young woman. Magdalena continuously engages in nonprofit camps, foundations, and events spreading her talents to her entire community. She should be recognized as an inspiration for mentoring the future female generations.
Magdalena, Deborah. Personal Interview. 31 August 2016.
Flores, J. H. "Deborah Magdalena." Nuyorican Negritude. South of Harlem Multimedia. 15 May 2013. 17 Mar. 2017. Web.
Adrienne Arsht Center."AileyCamp Encore Circle." AileyCamp Encore Circle. 2015. 17 Mar. 2017. Web.
“Breaking Through the Silicone Ceiling”
By Boris Spektor, Senior
The date is Late 2014, and AMD’s net worth was less than the net worth of the assets held. When the board of AMD selected Lisa Su as the CEO, stocks fell 25%, dropping from the four-dollar mark to barely above the three-dollar mark. The investors did not believe in the new leadership. They were wrong not to. Currently AMD stock is above $13, an incredible turnaround driven by the productive term of Lisa Su.
Lisa Su was born in Tainan, Taiwan, and immigrated to the US at the age of two. (Dragoon) Upon her graduation from high school, she was accepted into MIT and chose to major in what she considered the hardest profession: electrical engineering. (Dragoon) Even while studying, her passion for the STEM field was on full display, as she was accepted to the MIT UROP (Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program) and assisted in MIT’s semiconductor lab.
After receiving her PHD in Electronic Engineering, Lisa Su went to work for Texas Instruments before joining IBM in 1995. (Dragoon) After successfully working in a design team to design a copper interconnect CPU, she was promoted to technical assistant for Lou Gerstner, IBM’s CEO in only five years. (Dragoon) She took advantage of that opportunity to learn how Lou Gerstner managed IBM. Later in Lisa Su’s career at IBM, she took on the role of director of emerging products, where she was able to learn about the business side of IBM and was one of the main developers of the IBM Cell chip, a processor that punched far above its weight at the time and was used in Sony’s Playstation 3 (Dragoon).
In June 2007, Lisa Su joined Freescale Semiconductor as the CTO (chief technology officer), and in September 2008 became the Senior Vice President, responsible for marketing and engineering. (Dragoon) Lisa Su was able to thrive in the position due to her unique aptitude and passion for learning. By choosing to study in one of the hardest fields and constantly thinking technically, as well as understanding business, she was able to achieve success at Freescale, and moved onto the role of Senior Vice President of AMD in 2012. She played a pivotal role (once again!) in getting Sony and Microsoft to adopt AMD processors into their consoles.
Finally, in October 2014, Lisa Su was chosen as the new CEO of AMD (EETimes). Through her wealth of experience she was able to prove wrong anyone who doubted her and lead AMD to restructure, placing more focus on the GPU market with the creation of the Radeon Technologies Group and spearheading the development and execution of AMD’s new CPU architecture, the first one since 2006 (launch date of Intel’s core lineup) that could challenge Intel in the performance space (Baumann).
Through Lisa Su’s lengthy and productive career, she has broken many barriers for women in STEM fields, and mastered both the technical aspect and the business aspect of her career. She is an exemplary person to recognize for furthering the exposure of women in the STEM field.
Lee, Wendy. "Visionary of the Year nominee: Lisa Su, CEO of AMD." SFGate. N.p., 08 Feb. 2015. Web. 16 Mar. 2017.
"Executive Biography." Executive Biographies - Lisa Su. AMD, n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2017.
Dragoon, Alice. "Found in Translation." MIT Technology Review. MIT Technology Review, 30 Dec. 2013. Web. 16 Mar. 2017.
"AMD hires former Freescale executive Lisa Su | EE Times." EETimes. N.p., 15 Dec. 2011. Web. 16 Mar. 2017.
Baumann, Greg. "Meet AMD's new CEO, Lisa Su: 7 things to know." Bizjournals.com. N.p., 9 Oct. 2014. Web. 16 Mar. 2017.