Author: Yona María

Best. Meringue. Ever.

Guys… Look at this meringue!  I found this incredibly massive piece of deliciousness on Wednesday while walking the streets of Oxford with some friends from a doctoral summer program I’m attending. We ended up going to Baker and Spice (thanks to Emily – check out her IG hair diary!), and saw these meringues through the storefront window. For those who don’t know me, I’m a sucker for desserts… and I absolutely love a good meringue. When done well, they are crunchy, sugary pieces of heaven that melt in your mouth… and that, it did! They had two flavors: chocolate and strawberry. I went for the chocolate one, which is more of a traditional meringue, with powdered chocolate on top. It’s massive, definitely enough to share with several people… if you choose to go that route. We, however, decided to each get one for ourselves. 🙃 The easiest way to tackle and not make a huge mess is with a knife. I took a few direct bites, but it was a little difficult to maneuver. The outside …

Navigating that #phdlife: Dissertation Diaries

Let the dissertation games begin! When I first envisioned this series of essays about the PhD experience, I thought I would write about them chronologically… how to apply, what to expect, how to pick your mentors/advisors, how to manage the first few years versus the latter portion of the doctorate trajectory. However, I’m currently smack in the middle of collecting data for my dissertation… as a matter of fact, I just got back home after a month doing fieldwork in Tampa. So, instead of waiting to write about this later, it feels right to share my experience – and all its challenges – as it happens. (If you want to know a little bit about my dissertation, here you go!)  Prepping for data collection When the time comes to decide what your dissertation project is going to be, you have several choices. Of course, there’s deciding what methods you will use: Quantitative? Qualitative? Both? Then, there’s deciding how you will get that data. Some decide to work on an existing project, teaming up with an advisor or …

Cuatro mil seiscientos cuarenta y cinco…

El pasado martes, 29 de mayo, el New England Journal of Medicine publicó un estudio conducido por investigadores de Harvard University, donde se estiman 4,645 muertes relacionadas al paso del huracán María en Puerto Rico. He leído varios comentarios del público relacionado al estudio, algunos de los cuales cuestionan la veracidad de estos números, mientras que otros solo se enfocan en esta parte de los hallazgos. Aquí comparto mi opinión sobre los resultados del estudio y sus interpretaciones. Lo intentaré hacer de una manera simple, sin mucho tecnicismo, para que sea más fácil entender de dónde salieron los números estimados y cómo podemos utilizar esta información para mejorar nuestros sistemas de salud pública en preparación para próximos huracanes. Sobre los métodos Quiero empezar por darle un poco de contexto a la metodología que se utilizó para calcular estos estimados. Primero, el gobierno de Puerto Rico aparenta no haber querido compartir sus estadísticas con los miembros del estudio. Lamentablemente, esto es  algo bastante común en la isla… las agencias gubernamentales tienden a retener este tipo de …

Writer’s Block…

Inspiration, where art thou hiding? Guys… I’m suffering from a severe case of writers block right about now. It could be that I am anxious about what the next few months hold, since I’ll be away from home working on my dissertation. It might also be that my current schedule has been making it hard to find the time to write. Or, let’s be honest: it may just be plain ol’ laziness. It’s not that I don’t have things to write about… I guess I’ve just been lacking a little inspiration to get it all expressed in written form. I normally listen to podcasts that get me excited about certain topics (here and here are two of my favorites). I also like to read articles and essays that discuss growth and self-discovery – especially when they are written by people who have found it within themselves to share their views on life and all its intricacies. And, there’s my favorite movie of all time, Before Sunset, which always reminds me of the complexities of love, …

Back at it

A lot can happen in a month. When I started this very young blog back in the cold, snowy month of March (which feels like eons ago), I thought I would be able to write at least once a week. I figured it would be a way to channel my thoughts and process my emotions as life happens. However, the past five weeks have been pretty intense… not so much in the negative sense of the word, but in the pace at which things have been occurring. Ergo, writing here fell to the wayside. I’m currently juggling several facets of my life that are all in alignment and important, yet managed to speed-up simultaneously. Since my last post, I was involved in back-to-back activities related to relief efforts in Puerto Rico post-María. I first moderated a panel discussion regarding the social, economic and public health impacts of the hurricane six months after its passing (it was really informative – you can watch it here). The following week, I took over my university’s Instagram account to share a fundraising event …

Six Months Later…

As I have mentioned in previous posts, Puerto Rico’s recovery in the aftermath of Hurricane María is far from over. Today we hit the six month mark of the storm’s impact, and there is still much to do. As a founding member of Puerto Rico Stands, I have been working with members of the Johns Hopkins community to host several events to raise awareness about the public health needs still affecting Puerto Ricans. Check them out and see how you can help! Tuesday, March 27, 2018 – Panel Discussion Johns Hopkins University (JHU) forums on Race in America is hosting the panel, Six Months After Maria: Public Health Issues in Puerto Rico. The following article by JHU’s The HUB outlines the current state-of-affairs and the topics to be discussed. Here is an excerpt of my interview: “It’s important to continue to bring light to the issues that are happening on the island,” Rivera says. “We thought it would be good to do a follow-up six months later to remind people that the people of Puerto Rico are …

Unexpected Uber Smiles

It was a bright yellow car. You’d think I had ordered a cab. “Uber?” I asked, as soon as he pulled up. He smiled as I got in, which made me smile, too. “How was your day?” he asked. I think he saw my tired face. “It was good. I’m ready to go home, though. I’m exhausted!” “Hey, at least is was such a beautiful day outside today,” he said. I wholeheartedly agreed – it may still be cold out, but at least it was bright and sunny. “Such a pity that it is going to snow again next week… we’re in the middle of March!” I sighed and told him that it doesn’t surprise me anymore. When he asked why, I said I guess a lot of things have stopped surprising me, and worrying me while at it. That’s when the conversation got interesting. “How do you do it?” “Do what?” I responded. “Stop worrying. I ask because it’s so hard to do, and I’d love to know how you do it!” I started laughing …