Angelica was six years old when her family immigrated from Cuba to the United States. She entered the first grade at a time when bilingual education was non-existent and no one around her spoke Spanish. The teachers at the school knew her as “the little girl who can’t speak English.” Eventually she graduated from high school and went on to college, completing a degree in Business Administration and Marketing in 1988. Angelica went on to complete an MA in Urban Education, with a concentration in Bicultural Education in 1998, and an MA in Math Education in 1999. She taught, inspired, and empowered the bilingual students during the tenure of her career in Passaic Public Schools. In 2017 Angelica completed a Doctorate Degree in Educational Technology Leadership at NJCU, and in 2019 joined the non-profit Board of Directors of Latinas in STEM. Currently Angelica is working as an adjunct math teacher at Bloomfield College and helping to start Latinas in STEM Chapters across the country in order to spread their vision and mission of empowering young Latinas. Not bad for the little girl who couldn’t speak English.
Early in her career Angelica noticed a discrepancy in the amount of technology resources available to the teachers of bilingual students versus the teachers of general education students. She was given the opportunity to join a three year technology training program with Steven’s Institute of Technology through their MATRIX grant. Upon completion of the grant, Angelica’s classroom was equipped with a smart board and three smart tablets. Seeing the difference in the educational outcomes using these resources was the catalyst for her love of STEM. She was appointed to the School Leadership Council and worked on the technology plan for the district. She served as a CODIE judge for the Software and Information Industry Association. She presented at NJEA, ISTE, NJEDGE, and the Girls in Technology Symposium (GIT) at HCCC. As a Cuban, she thinks of Hispanic Heritage Month as a time to reflect on and celebrate the hard work and sacrifices of the Latinos that came before her. It is a time to offer gratitude for the doors that they opened that allowed her to walk more freely into areas that were once off limits.
“Hispanic Heritage Month is a time set aside to acknowledge those who have contributed to the rich tapestry of American history in our name. Ultimately, Hispanic Heritage Month serves as a reminder of the importance of celebrating diversity and promoting understanding and unity among all people. Because each one of us has something important and unique to offer.”