All posts by MamisOnTheMove

About MamisOnTheMove

Latina moms, friends, doctoras, juggling the things. Sharing consejos on highered leadership, teaching, research & mothering 🙃. #mamisonthemove!

Latina Vote

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There are 32 million eligible Latino voters in the U.S., yet Latina turnout rates are 14 to 20 percent lower than non-Hispanic Black or white women. This year, it’s up to us to make a difference.

If you want your voice heard on the issues that matter most to you, nothing is more important than exercising your right to vote. After all, there’s a lot more than candidates on the ballot. From choosing your local representatives to casting your vote on local taxes and a variety of issues that affect your daily life, the voting booth provides your chance to speak up.

Unlike any other election, this one marks the first time that Latinos are the largest racial or ethnic minority in the electorate. When you vote, you show officials that you’re part of a political and cultural force to be reckoned with, not a sleeping giant sitting on the sidelines.

Regardless of what anyone says, voting is a lot easier and safer than you think. Experts say the risk of contracting coronavirus at the polls is low, and you can always exercise your right to vote by mail instead if you choose. It’s important to note that despite rumors to the contrary, the risk of voter fraud is extremely rare. Whichever method you choose to cast your ballot, it’s important to understand your voting rights.

Here are 5 more things you need to know to vote in 2020:

1. Make sure you’re registered to vote. (We know it’s too later for this one 😦 )

It takes just 30 seconds to find out at — that’s faster than it takes to apply mascara. If you’re not registered or you’re listed as inactive, it takes less than 2 minutes to register.

2. Know what’s on your ballot.

You’re voting for more than just the president, so don’t wait until you’re about to fill in those ovals to learn about the different proposals and positions that are likely to appear on your ballot. You can look up exactly what’s on your ballot right here.

3. Decide where and how you’re going to vote.

You have two choices: Vote by mail, also called an absentee ballot, or vote in person. The pandemic has caused a lot of concern about mail-voting; here’s what you need to know:

  1. Some states require you to request an absentee/mail-in ballot, others automatically send it to you.
  2. Some states require an excuse, others don’t, and not all states consider fears of contacting coronavirus a valid excuse.
  3. You can find out all the rules and deadlines in your state right here.

If you’re voting in person, double-check your polling place ahead of time and make a plan for when and how you’ll get there, especially if you have to ask for time off from work. Most states allow for early voting up to two weeks ahead of election day, when crowds may be thinner, so you have plenty of options. Try planning a voting date with your bestie or set up reminders so you don’t forget right here.

4. Make sure you have the right form of identification with you if you’re voting in person.

All first-time voters must show identification, according to federal law, but for everyone else, the rules vary widely by state. You can check your state’s requirements here. Don’t forget to wear a mask, make sure your phone is charged, and bring snacks in case you have to wait in line.

5. Finally, make a pledge to vote with She Se Puede!

The more we get the word out, the more representation we’ll have. Being a huge part of the electorate gives us enormous power at the ballot box — voting gives you the opportunity to make a meaningful impact on your life, your family, and your community. Make a pledge to vote herePa’lante!

Voting is sooo worth it, and so much easier than you think!

Grad School Mami

Hey Mamis!

‘Tis the season. Not Christmas, though I wish! Instead, it’s time to prep those graduate school applications. You might be reviewing programs and requirements and making final decisions for applications, so here are a few tips from #scholarmami!

After reviewing numerous master’s and doctoral applications over the years, please consider the following:

  1. Make Your Presence/Interest Known – Many programs host open houses or interest days. While these programs may be virtual now, it is an opportunity for you to get first-hand knowledge about your graduate program of interest. Also, by attending these events, faculty can begin to put a name with a face and begin to get to know you and your interests. If you are unable to attend a prescheduled event, then watch the video and reach out to a faculty member or recruitment team member with any questions.
  2. Required Materials – Most programs will requite a resume/CV, personal statement, and letters of recommendation. This year, many graduate programs are going GRE/test optional. Be familiar with the requirements for your program of interest and plan ahead. Give yourself time to finalize your personal statement and format your resume/CV. Finally, don’t sell yourself short on your resume/CV! Be sure to include all of your professional and community work and presentations. Highlight your grants and/or fellowships with dollar amounts. Include awards you have received – or been nominated!
  3. Letters of Recommendation – Letters of recommendation provide an outside perspective on your accomplishments and goals. If possible, make sure one of your recommenders is a current/former faculty member who can speak to your academic abilities. Also, be sure to give your recommenders optimal time to write a quality letter. In other words, try to avoid a last minute “ask” if you can! It also helps to send your current resume/CV to your recommenders so they can include your latest accomplishments.
  4. Application fees – Fees vary by program, so be sure to research what is required. Sometimes the graduate school and the program require fees to apply. Be sure to include these items in your application budget! In addition, there may be fee waivers. Ask around to see if any of these fees can be dropped!
  5. Personal Statement – First, be sure to follow directions. Succinctly include all the items requested in a personal statement. If you omit long-term goals, for example, it makes it difficult for the admissions committee to determine how their program aligns with your professional interests. Second, watch for formatting. If your program follows APA guidelines, then you should use them. Follow the formatting guidelines for your field. Third, particularly for doctoral students, identify and describe how your research interests align with the faculty and their areas of expertise. Share what you hope to gain and contribute to a community of (emerging) scholars in the program.

You can do this, Mamis! We need you and your knowledge and expertise in these spaces. If we can be of assistance as you gather and finalize your materials, please feel free to reach out to us. We’ve been there, and we are happy to help you achieve your goals. Please comment below or contact us with any questions!


Lessons from RBG

Hola Mamis!

The day after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died, Alejandro and I were talking to Isabel about why she was so important and about her contributions to society. We read the I Dissent children’s book and I got emotional going through the many ways she helped many of us earn equality and respect under the law. What a remarkable life and what amazing impact but alas, the work continues and these #mamisonthemove are here for it.

Interestingly, I tend to forget she was a mother through it all. Her achievements could only have been done with amazing support which, in this case, turned out to be her loving husband and surely an amazing tribe we’ve yet to learn about. 

This amazing little lady did and said so many amazing things… I want to highlight a few of my   favorites: 

This is especially powerful for a #vpmami who can sometimes be very impatient or feel defeated with the slowness of change. I was reminded by a colleague Monday that our processes for change/approval are also there as safety measures, checks and balances. So, for those of us that need it and sometimes feel defeated with progress taking long… remember to celebrate every step toward real and enduring change. 

This one is useful in all realms of life. This quote was especially helpful earlier this week in a non-work related situation. Maybe there are places, people and spaces which may make you lose your cool quicker than most. There may be certain triggers which you must acknowledge to ensure you can tame them… I hope having that personal insight plus this quote will help you be successful in many spheres. Thanks RBG!

And now… the piece de resistance:

I am forever trying to not let words penetrate my mind, my heart, and my soul. As #RBG stated in this brilliant quote: if we are overcome by our negative feelings when we react, we will quickly lose the audience and lose the chance to make our case. This is a daily exercise for me because this #mami feels way way too much. 

May these quotes and words serve as a lovely reminder for you to keep at it because every step counts, dissenting strategically matters, and persuading like a queen will help you win! 



Hola Mamis!

Working from home continues to be a challenge and when you add “real” school to the mix it really is something else. The duties of administration/faculty provide an awesome responsibility but also one which can be overwhelming, especially in a pandemic. Sprinkle in the fact that Isabel is now taking assessments to measure her reading and math levels, and when she is doing them I (#vpmami) feel (call me crazy) that I am also being assessed, at least in part, for how well we are working with her and complementing her knowledge separate and apart from what she is assigned to do at school (yup, I put that much on myself). Add to that #scholarmami’s duties as a maid of honor for her sweet sister getting married during the #pandemic…Cue in the volunteer work we do as well as leadership positions we hold within volunteer organizations… oh and that book chapter we agreed to co-write (for which we got an extension)… and we have ourselves tired #mamisonthemove. These #mamis need to stop.this.train. 

Yup, we tell you to take it slow, take it easy, take it in stride. We tell you to do the best you can with what you have and we have to remind ourselves to do the same. 

And then… #vpmami signed up to do Isabel’s faith formation classes from home. Our church is going to be providing the materials and it’s on parents to teach lessons. And when I was finding myself tired and beating myself up for not having gone to church to pick up the book (because I just can’t), I remembered the wise words of my dear friend Daniel V. Daniel said “we’re in a pandemic, I’m not going to be the best father, husband, employee, or volunteer… it’s just not possible. Something has to give.” It was so refreshing and a great reminder to get off my perfection horse and remind myself we are in a pandemic and my best is going to look different now given everything we have to balance.

It seems to be a recurring theme, take a break, let perfection go, don’t put so much on yourself…but we forget to be gracious with ourselves so often that we need to constantly remind ourselves (and you) to do it.

How are you incorporating the 3Ds? Delete, delegate, and decline? Share in the comments!

-#vpmami & #scholarmami

Mentoring Mamis

Hola Mamis!

Take a minute and think about the great mentors you have had in your life. We have all benefited from integral individuals who were willing to offer guidance and support. Their consejos have helped us achieve our goals and be where we are today! 

But how do you decide areas of mentorship for yourself…and how do you make “the ask”?

Here are a few tips to plan and strategize for building your mentor support network:

  1. Create Your Own Mentor/Support Map – The National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity Faculty Bootcamp suggests identifying areas of mentorship as a first step. These areas may include professional development, role models, sponsors, individuals to provide feedback, readers (e.g., manuscripts or tenure materials), and emotional support individuals. The mentor map helps you identify the gaps and overlaps in your mentorship map and build from there! You can also tailor your map depending on your personal and professional needs and goals.
  2. Identify Your Greatest Area of Mentoring Need – Review your mentor map and identify the glaring gaps. For example, perhaps you are set on feedback and sponsorship, but you need additional support in professional development or emotional support. These gaps will help you target the type of help you need for a very specific “ask.”
  3. Search for Mentors – Using your personal and professional networks, cultivate a list of individuals who might support your specific mentorship needs. Look for individuals in your LinkedIn network – even second-degree connections – to identify individuals who you think have excelled in your areas of need. Keep a list of prospective mentors and their contact information.
  4. Make the “Ask” for a Short MeetingDisclaimer: This might feel a super awkward at first. That’s OK! We’ve all been there, and the worst thing anyone can do is say “no.” And we’ve all heard “no” before (probably since the age of 1), and we’re OK! So, get out there and shake it! Send a short and simple message and try to set up a brief meeting.
  5. First Meeting – Set up a meeting day and time that is convenient for them. Have a few goals in mind, but ask about the individual’s work and expertise, particularly related to your area of mentorship need. Get to know the prospective mentor to determine if they are a good fit for you. Ask if you can follow up with them at a specific time (i.e., certain number of weeks or months) and share progress on your goals. Thank them! An email or thank you card work well.
  6. Determine the Relationship – Some mentorship needs are long-term, whereas others are short-term. Consider the length of time you will need to achieve your goals and fulfill your mentorship map. Based on your goals and timeline, ask the mentor if you can share a short list of goals you want to accomplish. This list will help set accountability expectations for their time.
  7. Maintain Communication – If you’re going to ask someone to serve as a mentor in a specific capacity, be sure to maintain communication with them. Be consistent and follow through! Also, an additional thank you card at the end of your mentorship time is always appreciated.

So, what are your mentorship needs, Mamis? What areas need to be addressed or developed in the upcoming year? As you consider your needs and options, we hope you will consider us. We have a variety of experiences in academia and administration, and we would love to support you! Leave a comment or message us!

Have a great week!

-#scholarmami and #vpmami

How are you doing, Mami?

Hey Mamis!

Welcome back to school! It’s the start of a new semester, and most of us are ping ponging between virtual school at home and our full-time job responsibilities. In between (or maybe even while on) Zoom meetings, we are watching our child(ren) and ensuring they are on task. The return to school is always an exciting time of year, but planning and prep will look a little different this year. Here are a few of our strategies for finding some back-to-school balance:

  1. Meal prep – As much as possible, Sunday nights are dedicated to meal prep. Making a protein with different sides definitely comes in handy when everyone’s hungry. Fruit and pre-portioned snacks are also ready for quick access!
  2. Letting go – Most times I try to have kid-free meetings. In an ideal situation, my office door is closed, the background is nice and clean, and I look presentable. Other times, I am OK with having my video and sound off. Depending on the situation, make it work for you! If your child(ren) or pets make a virtual appearance, it is what it is. Give and show grace during this time. We’re all trying our best.
  3. Unplugging – Every evening I stop checking work email around 8pm, sometimes earlier and sometimes later. I find it helpful to unplug and transition to our evening routine. Most nights that includes watching some tv and reading books before bedtime. 

What are your back-to-school strategies? What’s working for you? Please let us know! Share in the comments below or contact us. Have a great first week!


Hola Mamis!

This has indeed been a back to school like no other. To adjust to all the changes going on in society and in the economy due to the pandemic, many community colleges are extending enrollment deadlines which means the hard work keeps going a bit longer for us on the Student Services side. I want to give a HUGE SHOUTOUT to all of our colleagues who have been running the sprint and marathon that is fall 2020 enrollment! The final lap is near and you are impacting entire families and communities with your work and dedicated service. Never forget! Those in our classrooms now will be vital to the recovery of this country and you are helping them get there.

While we are all working probably more than we ever have before (more on that in another post) we have students and colleagues who are suffering the loss of loved ones due to COVID. We are also dealing with grief at many different levels. All that said… here are some more strategies to add to your toolkit:

  1. Break-If you need a break, Tired, weary mamis deserve breaks too and you know you will be better for it. 
  2. Mental Health-Connect with a mental health professional. This is all hard and dealing with our own grief while trying to be strong for our colleagues and families is a lot. Make that appointment.
  3. Take Care of You-Do something nice for yourself everyday- My nice thing is squeezing in a workout 4-5 times per week, eating a tasty treat, or actually watching a show I want to see (instead of cartoons)… what is a nice thing you do for yourself?

There have been weeks when I have not worked out because my mind, body, and heart have been heavy. It’s ok! Listening to this particular episode of Michelle Obama podcast was especially helpful to me. 

We are in the struggle with you, #mamis! Sending all the best vibes…


How this VP is resetting and restarting fall 2020…

Hola Mamis!

For many of us on the staff/administration side, it feels like there was never really a break, not a clean cut from spring break back to school. To top it off we had a summer overloaded with emotional and extra hard work. Our students’ and employees’ wellbeing has been top of mind. The vital role community colleges play in our communities is magnified moving into the new school year in a #worldpandemic, with high #unemployment and much uncertainty. One thing is very clear, increased needs for what community colleges have to offer has grown exponentially which makes my work and leadership even more important.

#scholarmami’s last post invited me to pause and think. I have been contemplating the wins of the school year ending as fall 2020 begins. Taking stock of what has been accomplished is not something I often do but this year’s list makes me pretty darn proud. Considering what is still to be done and new goals for the new year also help me get clarity and focus on the work ahead. While there are always fires which must be put out, keeping a clear eye on the larger, longer term goals is healthy and necessary to make larger, systemic and systematic change which our schools and communities need now more than ever. So, thank you #scholarmami for the opportunity to pause and think. I am feeling pretty great and energized to keep myself intentionally #onthemove. I have a new journal in which I will be setting goals. Also, I am going to be intentional about setting up an “inspiration wall” full of quotes and imagery that keep me grounded and help me keep going when the going gets tough.

Aside from writing last school year’s accomplishments and setting personal, professional, and divisional goals for the coming year… I now have to also consider how it will all be done as I play 1st grade teaching assistant to Isabel. We have opted to keep her at home/virtual the entire fall semester. This past weekend I found myself “nesting”, clearing out clutter so that I may make space in my home office for this little one to do virtual learning. Olivia will be alongside us and hopefully also interested in doing all of the pre-k activity books we’ve purchased for her. I’ll have to remember to take the traditional back to school pictures of all of us. This is a back to school we’ll never forget. #grace will continue to be the key, every darn day.

Staff/administrator mamis, how do you get yourself renewed and ready for the new academic year? Let me know by sharing your comments below!

be well and take care,


Every Semester Needs a Plan

Example Monthly Plan

Hey Mamis!

I began my journey in academia as a tenure-track faculty member in Fall 2013. Like many faculty of color, I was the first in my family to pursue this role. I was excited to begin my new position, but I  wasn’t entirely sure of how to plan for the upcoming six years. I had my tenure and promotion guidelines and thought I would work really hard to achieve my goals. 

My first semester went by, and with two new class preps, I was proud of submitting one manuscript for review. Six years is a long time, right?


Spoiler alert: Six years goes by very quickly! Time flies even more when you realize manuscripts may take years to move from review to publication. (One of my publications took three years at a top-tier journal!) 

After some great coaching by my mentor, Dr. Maria Martinez-Cosio, and participating in the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity summer faculty bootcamp, my whole approach to writing changed. I learned I needed to have a plan. In fact, every semester needs a plan! As a result, my approach to research and writing changed dramatically. I’m happy to share my writing process with you! (Disclaimer: This was my pre-COVID-19 strategy, but hopefully you will find these steps helpful!)

  1. Print out a monthly calendars for the semester (see above). Yes, this is old fashioned. Yes, it is killing trees by using paper. However, it is easier for me to see the semester by laying out all of the upcoming months.
  2. Find your favorite pencil. Hey, plans change! All of my semester plans are written in pencil, just in case!
  3. Begin to mark your calendar with the first and last day of class, university holidays, conference and grant application deadlines, professional development, and personal/family engagements.
  4. Based on the conference and grant application deadlines, plan backwards. On a separate piece of paper, write down all of the required components for these proposals. Include each of these components in your calendar so you have draft(s) completed before the due date. Please note: Your institution may require additional steps for grants. My grant applications were required to go through a pre-approval process prior to submitting the application. Allow extra time, if needed!
  5. Identify your writing projects and determine the tasks that need to be completed for each. These tasks may range from minor edits on one manuscript to starting from scratch on another manuscript. After you have written each task for your manuscripts, set goals for completing the tasks. Then (you guessed it), plan backwards! I set weekly writing goals and strive to accomplish one or two writing goals per manuscript per week.
  6. Next, open up that planner (again, I’m old school and use a paper one) and include your tasks for each goal in your weekly planner. It works best if you allocate at least 30 minutes of writing time per day. 
  7. Protect that writing time as much as you can! This is your investment in yourself and your future. It’s not time to give up for a meeting or a coffee break. Guard it with your entire being! 
  8. If things go awry (who can plan and write with a sick kiddo??), then take out that favorite pencil and re-strategize. Give yourself some grace! But also, make sure you get back on track as soon as you can.

This is my approach to research and writing, and it has worked well over the years. I encourage you to try it for two weeks! Let us know how it goes. Also, feel free to share your tips and strategies for a productive semester by commenting below!

Wishing you a great fall semester,

Mamis Coaching Mamis

Hola Mamis!

You have found your passion in higher education, and then what!?

Consider the coach… Any great team has a great coach! There are even specialty coaches who focus on specific pieces vital for individual and team success. But as #mamis and #professionals, we seldom have access to great coaches much less any who understand the trifecta of being a #latina #mami #higheredprofessional. 

What do I do? I have multiple pockets of people who serve as coaches and sounding boards. Some of us are in the same boat and are of the same generation paving the road to success together. Others are in places and spaces I aspire to arrive into– and it has taken a ton of time to work up the courage to ask them to be my support and answer my questions. Many times I don’t have aligned identities with folks who serve as my coaches and guides, but I can do a good job piecing together their advice and making it work for me. Still, there is a void. I have not yet met the #latina #mami #highered #unicorn who can serve as my higher education guru, guide, sister-in-success and all things mothering, cultura, and personal and professional life. Hence, my sisterhood of #mamis and #latinas in #higher education has come to me but at a price… paying many thousands of dollars and participating in professional development and conferences which are only offered to few and can only be funded/afforded by even less. 

All of what I just said is why Dr. Taryn (#scholarmami) and I felt so strongly about starting #mamisonthemove. We are creating a network and space where #latina #mamis in #highereducation faculty and administration guide you through the trifecta that is our life. We are here for you, want to make ourselves available to you, and know we will be able to get you well on your way to unscrambling the difficulty that can be living this life as a #mamionthemove!


Hey Mamis!

Just as Dr. Mayra (#vpmami) said: The #guru #unicorn does not exist! This is the same for mentorship and coaching. You will never find the one person who can fulfill all of your #academic and #professional needs. (Sorry, but it’s true!) However, you can find a coach and mentor who has a demonstrated expertise and can offer assistance in a very specific way! 

This is where your #MatrixofSupport comes in! Take a minute and think about your professional and personal needs, goals, and areas of support. You might even map it out! If you’re a #postdoctoral fellow or #tenure-track faculty member, your areas of need might include: research and publications, grants, teaching, service, family, friends, childcare, and personal self-care. Then, consider the types of support you need in each of these areas. Who are the individuals you turn to when writing manuscripts? Who can offer guidance on grant writing and management? Finally, who do you go to for emotional or psychological support? Who is your shoulder to cry on? 

Next, look at your Matrix and identify the gaps. Gaps are OK. We just want to fill them! 

Your next step can be to consider the specific individuals you can support a unique task. It’s too much to ask one individual to be your everything. Instead, someone might be able to offer support with a particular area!

That’s where #mamisonthemove comes in! Dr. Mayra and I have unique experiences and accomplishments in administration and academia. Our background coupled with #cultural competency and #mamihood can help you jumpstart your academic and professional career. Let us know how we can help! Comment below or send us a note. We want to hear from you!