Author: Yona María

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 …

Navigating that #phdlife: Why do you want a PhD?

Three simple letters with so much meaning. A terminal degree. Subject matter expertise. Street cred. The pinnacle of your academic training. For me, it’s the ability to finally become an academic researcher and a professor. For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to pursue a career that would allow me to teach, mentor and explore new ideas. I was an extremely inquisitive child – I constantly sat in the front row and raised my hand to ask my favorite question of all: WHY. I also loved the feeling of creating something new, whether it be through dancing, singing, acting or writing. That is why it doesn’t surprise me that I gravitated towards research. I distinctively remember being in a high school seminar where we were discussing what professions to explore in college. My hand shot up when they asked who wanted to be a scientist. Since I loved genetics, I was convinced my career goal was to pursue a PhD in Biotechnology. Why a PhD? Well, the few scientists I knew all …