What does inspiration mean to you and how would you use your platform in your future career to inspire others?
Inspiration can be expressed in countless ways and cannot be simplified to one definition. From my viewpoint it is an action, item, or being that evokes feelings of motivation and/or creativity. But even this definition is still open to interpretation. For instance, Katsukisha Hokusai’s The Great Wave off Kanagawa lead to Tobias Stengel’s Die Woge and Rosa Parks’s bravery lead to the Civil Rights movement. Although they are both examples of inspiration, one is caused by art while the other by action. The type of motivation I relate to most is the inspiration I get from seeing strangers succeed. Seeing people such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who goes against stereotypes enlightens me to pursue any career I desire. I plan to do the same when I become a pharmacist in the future.
Being a pharmacist was not my first choice of a job. For three years I was set on being a cosmetologist. During my time as a camper at the Women Empowered By Science program, I became more interested in the medical sciences. My group leader spoke of her major at Wilkes University, but what really persuaded me was her passion. I could tell she was proud of her major just by the way she answered our questions with pleasure. Recently, she has become a pharmacist and we occasionally message each other. After I graduate from college and become employed, one of my aims will be to spread the word about pharmacy and other related professions. Who knows, there might be a future physician or technician who just needs the right motivation.
There are different jobs in which a pharmacist participates, such as a researcher. Since my intended college strongly endorses research, there is no doubt that I will take part in such projects in the future. If I do pursue this path, then the sky's the limit. My input can help prevent, mitigate, or cure a deadly illness. The future generation would see that a Hispanic female can solve a critical issue. Even if my research does not find the cure for cancer or some similar disease, I still will have defied common stereotypical assumptions about people of my background–the assumptions that Hispanics only are Blue-collar workers and that women don’t succeed in STEM fields. My intentions are to give these future generations hope that they too can follow their dreams and pursuits without racial or gender limits.
There are a plethora of answers when defining inspiration. In my case, it means to cause other people to feel a certain way and then act on those feelings. Clearly, my focus is to inspire success for females and the Hispanic community, but that does not mean I will not advocate for people in other situations. There will always be problems forming and the only thing we can do is to try to fix them while motivating others to join us.
What are you currently doing to inspire those around you?
Many assume a teenager is either too young to inspire others or an influential teen is an upcoming celebrity such as Greta Thunberg who speaks to high officials. This false dichotomy is simply not the case. I have never been the popular kid, the all-star athlete, or a talented musician. This leads to the question of ‘Who is Ada Soriano?” Well, I am a member of the McGowan Hispanic Outreach High School Mentoring Program, as well as a four-year volunteer at the Women Empowered By Science Summer Program, and a member of Junior Leadership Wilkes-Barre. These titles can seem a bit much, but they do reflect what I stand for: pride in my Hispanic heritage, concern for the plight of women, and advocacy on behalf of low-income families.
The McGowan Hispanic Outreach High School Mentoring Program assists Hispanic high school students to pursue a college education. This non-profit program facilitated by King’s College is the reason why the Hispanic college graduation rates rise in our city. As a participant in the program, I always look forward to finding new ways to promote it and to persuade more of the Hispanic community to embrace their heritage. Even though I’m not an important figure, many teens notice that if a student their age can embrace their culture then they can too.
Not only do I try to positively influence Hispanics but also females, especially young girls who do not see their full potential. The Women Empowered by Science program (W.E.B.S) is a one week program for 6th/7th grade girls to experience the areas of science. As a volunteer I encourage girls while helping them with science labs and personal empowerment activities. What many do not know is that I was once in their shoes. I too was naive and somewhat intimidated before the W.E.B.S program empowered me to become a leader. I hope to inspire these girls to be confident just as the older volunteers once inspired me.
As a member of Junior Leadership Wilkes-Barre I’m required to organize a community service project with a team of other juniors in the area. My group works alongside Wilkes University’s SHINE program to assist low-income families. Our project SHINE Through It All is currently producing small videos about activities children can do while staying at home during the Covid-19 pandemic. For example, our recent art video teaches students how to construct a paintbrush out of dandelions. We hope to make more similar videos because we know many families cannot safely go out during this time or even afford the supplies. As far as we know there are around 500 kids enrolled in the program who will see the videos and hopefully be inspired to continue being innovative.
I’m blessed to discredit the false dichotomy of teen inspiration. Even though my intentions for these acts were to inspire others, I noticed they also inspired me to continue serving as a role model towards my community.
What you would do with the scholarship award if you were to receive it?
It takes 6-8 years to become a pharmacist. So, currently I am taking core college classes though Wilkes University during high school for a head start. With this scholarship money I plan to pay for the tuition fees and to buy textbooks.