Professional Services

1. ESL classes for adults and children:

Target audience:

Adults or children with varying levels of English

Students looking to improve their English for school

International Professionals looking to improve their English

 

1st class is free: to learn about your needs

2nd class: lay out a learning plan

Following classes: no contract, you can take as many or as few as you would like

 

2. Spanish classes for adults and children: 

Target audience: Children and adults who would like to learn to speak Spanish, with a focus on the oral component

Professionals looking to learn Spanish

People preparing to go overseas for different reasons: i.e mission trips, group trips, solo travel

1st class is free: to learn about your needs

2nd class: lay out a learning plan

Following classes: no contract, you can take as many or as few as you would like

 

Course information:

  1. Classes on the weekend
  2. Location TBD- at a shared space like a library or cafe
  3. Will become available mid-Feburary

 

3. Translation Services:

Target audience: Oral or written translation

Professionals looking to translate work documents or papers

People preparing to go overseas for different reasons: i.e mission trips, group trips, solo travel

1st class is free: to learn about your needs

2nd class: lay out a learning plan

Following classes: no contract, you can take as many or as few as you would like

 

References:

Teaching English/Work in English language: 

-Worked as a GED language arts instructor for a class of students of diverse backgrounds  at Columbia University

-Worked as an English writing instructor for Breakthrough collaborative, a middle school summer program for low-income students, mostly of Hispanic descent (references available)

Teaching Spanish/Spanish Immersion:

-Missionary trip to Bolivia with English-speaking group and offered translations for my team (references available)

-Immersed in Spanish context while doing Independent Study abroad in Colombia (I can provide a letter of completion of project)

-Conduct Spanish language intake for a local immigration clinic (references available)

See my resume here: 

 

 

 

 

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Reflections on 2017

How I have felt this break 2017-2018 and projections as I go into the new year: 

After a stretch of time in DC working, and focusing on my last post’s event, Hour of Code, I set out for the Holidays with the family in Florida and it was a rich time of thought and reflection. What I continuously fail at is to chronicle my thoughts for day’s on end.

I would like to change this but at times I am scared of writing something and scared at the judgement I will impose on myself by writing something crappy, that I don’t like, or that I feel like I have to edit.

I have failed at this and would like to change this now in a new season of work and living.

I think my fear of writing out my thoughts, emotions, and reflection is indicative and points to several things I would like to change about the way I have been working on and learning about myself in my young adulthood. 

Struggling with striving for perfection and pleasing everyone and doing everything and trying to save the world has pushed me to my limits. I have brought unbelievable pressure onto myself for no apparent reason and worrying about what was out of my control- something else that a type A, worry kind can very much identify with, I’m sure. This year I want to live resiliently. Instead of riding the roller coaster of emotions, luck, brakthroughs, big failures, and big life events, I would like a steadier, daily routine that is both challenging and fulfilling and rich with love, friendship, and gradual but confident approaches to finding a passionate calling or vocation that fills me daily and allows the work to pour from one day to another during the week, that I don’t want to put down, but that I am happy sharing, questioning, and growing in different directions on the weekend. This is what I want, and while some have come to agree with my approach while others sit on the sideline questioning, and I confident in my next step to try to achieve this goal and grow in it, do well, and be a strong and bold leader.

 

So here’s what I want to focus on in 2018, and why:

  • Mastering the art of living resiliently; I know this may sound general, but it is just an open canvas ready to be explored. Over the past year or so of routine, I have learned what this is more about- it is about the daily planning, working in stretches, practicing gratefulness and putting situations into perspective, and practicing grace with myself. Additionally, striving, for completeness, solutions, or quick impatient actions will not help this mentality and will only perpetuate the need for perfection and it will remain unfulfilled and I uneasy. Be ok with openness, questions, uncertainly and embrace it as the forward motion of life and as the necessary excitement to keep life interesting.

How to practice this goal:

  • I want to do this by combining important organizational tools like my best self journal and practicing meditation but much more all-encompassing and sustainable is practicing my faith daily and in fellowship with my church and others. At church I should bring my full self, busy or not, failing or not, free or not. Practicing my faith is the very source of motivation to do everything else, and survive, so in this case, faith leads to motivation, not the other way around.

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  • The next goal is to continue to work towards what I am passionate about instead of looking for the next role. I want to pursue my passion or be creative in seeking it. In this way, I will ensure that I feel comfortable and secure in what I am doing, not questioning left and right and every day.

How to practice this goal:

  • Thinking about careers with more longevity will help me in the short term and long term. In the short term, it will help me not just focus on nailing the next role but rather to look at the responsibilities I want to fulfill and the skills I want to gain and if I can, the profession I want to have, but even the latter is a little too limiting. In the long term, thinking about careers with longevity will help me see this thing through a much wider lens, like widening my view in the kaleidoscope. The reality is, that it has only been a year and a half of the forty years of working. It’s important to think in the long run and know that a career is something you can transform and change as you move along, and being ok with this reality, with some exceptions of course. I can rest assured, however, that if I want to be a teacher now and in 5-7 years work on pivoting to law or policy to work on the issues and further specialization that I developed, then why the heck not? I do not think that a linear path is required nor is it the best way of achieving fulfillment for everyone.

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    • The final goal  is to really find and consistently pursue what gives me joy; for a lot of my short life I realize that I have denied myself a lot of pleasures for a variety of reasons. This denial comes from having to work so hard to succeed and exist at the top of my classes, internships, and now job as a first generation, low-income Latina. Through this experience, I have also seen the darker side of overburdening a young mind and limited body with so much stress, work, and challenge. Therefore, in this year I would like to take a generous amount of time on a daily and a weekly basis to indulge in things that I love. This has been this past year in reading and pet projects that are definitely work related. While these activities have been beneficial, they also take the same analytical wavelength I use for work, thus maxing it out. However, there’s this bursting creative side in me that I would like to cultivate, starting here, with his blog. But also moving into learning chess (maybe a little analytical, but still strategic and playful) and knitting/crocheting, and dancing (salsa and other dances). Maybe even learning how to play guitar and learning some of my favorite worship hymns on it. I think there are many areas of my mind I have yet to explore, and this goal will be devoted to this feat.

How to practice this goal:

I think the way I will practice this goal will rely on previous tried and true methods. I will schedule time in my calendar to work on these but also actively eliminate the thoughts of guilt or anxiety I experience when I am not doing something “productive,” “I am resting my mind, or am not doing work-related things. I also need to practice to be more intentional and to actually set out to do these activities and apply my mind, even though I am not assigned to do them. Sometimes I am so exhausted when I get home that I just want to lay down and sleep or stare into space or watch consecutive tv shows. Perhaps I can treat myself even more by engaging a hobby while playing a podcast or show I like and drinking wine? Ahhh…

 

 

 

References for My Work

“Alexa is the ideal teacher. She is knowledgeable, patient, and passionate about languages and is gifted in this arena. Her friendly and sparkling personality lends itself to a welcoming environment in which to learn and grow. When we traveled with a group to Bolivia last year, she took it upon herself to create Spanish lessons for our group so that they would be better prepared for language immersion. She was able to meet people at their skill level – whether beginner or advanced – and encouraged them weekly to continue building on the foundation they had. I highly recommend Alexa!”

Exploring New Tools & Staying Motivated

Technology can be difficult at times. The media glorifies technological innovations as if they were infallible and the nothing could possibly be wrong with them. However, there are a host of issues that can spur up as you try to learn or adopt a new technology.

I have recently experienced with Bitcoin and with Microsoft BI. With the former I have seen the effects of tech literacy on me and my parents. Take me, I grew up when the Internet as we know it today was up and coming and we became fully iterate in social media, doing work on our computers, as well as begginning to interact with Internet of Things, such as smartphones! Currently I work as an analyst at a massive tech company that pays us to do tech work and continuously amplify our tech skills. One of these areas is blockchain. Additionally, I consider myself an actively literate person, always reading, researching, or communicating. Meanwhile, my dad did not have any of these scenarios growing up and neither does he now.

Therefore, when it comes to investing some of his hard earned extra money on Bitcoin, I am his link into this tricky world of tech. I credit my exposure working at a technology consulting firm that has exposed me to varies ways of understanding what block chain is, but with such a complex topic, more questions always emerge than answers. Therefore, I continue to engage myself, others, and my dad into conversations about literacy on the topic as well as gaining a keen technical understanding coming from practice at work and having some of the right connections.

Today, I was playing around with Power BI. When I first launched a youtube video explaining this new tool to me, I felt kind of like my dad, anxiously staring at a new tool that not only should I learn to use for my own knowledge and transferable skills but also to apply it at my job, in a higher stake situation. Therefore, it is imperative that I practice, learn more about the tool, and continue to apply it. Today, I managed to make several charts visualizing my data and ultimately beginning to give me the confidence I need to tackle technology to teach  myself and leverage the power of information in unforeseen ways.

 

Reflections on Hour of Code Event

Hour of Code had been my baby since the summer when I committed to leading an event and being the PoC for a school in DC.

Little did I know what I had chosen to be involved with until I started to communicate with a wonderful and powerful educator at the school and she started to get me involved.

In this role, I had to develop a lesson plan to engage the students in Hour of Code, where students would receive a smooth introduction into coding, and get hooked!

As you may imagine, the lesson plan went through many iterations before it was ready to be executed. At first I used a Nasa Lesson plan, which sought to do data analysis and show the effect of solar panels on school electricity usage. I quickly learned that this lesson was too much for too little time, but more importantly, I realized it may have been frustrating for some of the kids, given the many assumptions I was making about their knowledge.

Therefore, my co-leader and I decided to focus on the heart of coding and learning,

and that was to play games instead. Therefore, for the expo session pictured on the left we did brain teasers and played a trivia pong game whereby the kids were learning through playing, and earning prizes and points along the way.

For the other half of our time at the school, the volunteers interacted at different paces in classrooms all around the school, where their classrooms came alive with games, curiosity, and focus on getting our combat heroes to the next level.

Overall, the kids were interested in seeing how coding could be fun, and also get a glimpse at how coding is broader than they think, and present in their everyday lives. And hopefully, they also see that careers in fields that interact with coding are also within their reach.

Preparing for this year’s Hour of Code!

Hour of Code is an exciting venture marked by learning, curiosity, and team work. As I work with a local DC School on this event and help bring the best that a group of volunteers can offer to a school, I am excited for what impacts Hour of Code holds for Ron Brown High School.

If people have recently heard about Ron Brown, it is a local DC school that has been going through a lot of new changes and turmoil. While arriving to Ron Brown with a curriculum has not been the  best approach, it has taught me to be open and spontaneous and to prepare for the unexpected. For example, initially when planning a lesson for the hour of code I was confronted with planning without being fully aware of what the kids would actually enjoy, learn, and be equipped to tackle in an hour.As I equip to lead an event, there are several layers and pieces to the preparation. However, mostly it it has been producing different iterations and adding to my preparation leading into the event, and having an open mind to change even leading into the day of the event.

In the mean time, here are some tips:

The first is to surround myself by a team of people that know much more than I do about coding. Of course this is simple because I work at a technology company with a lot of software developers who surround me with resources and advice of how to begin to prepare for an event like hour of code

The second step of preparation has been learning up on how coding actually works, and how a child would see it, which is not hard given that I have limited coding background. Therefore, what I have done over the past several days has been to practice what it feels like to start from a very fundamental place and begin to unravel more complicated topics. In order to do this we start with games. Games and playing is the best way to bring people new to the topic into the folds. There are games for all preferences and ages and I have been taking a CS Teaching Fundamentals course which is exposing me to the wealth of resources educators can bring to their students to engage them in coding.

The first came I have played through the Hour of Code Teaching CS Essentials Course, I have played block games where each block has javascript driving the actions. But the idea is to  learn the concepts behind the code and to play a game while doing so. Games make the experience engaging and creates lower barriers to entry. For example, if kids started to code in a way that syntax mattered, they might get drained by the corrections and give up, never to return back to it.

Instead with a game, it will give kids the simulation of a video game or a computer game, which to them they are just having fun but really their brain is learning the logic and building blocks of code.

Update: Self-learning/ New learning project

It’s been a while since I have posted because I have been too busy doing and not chronicling what I have been doing. I figured that I would spend some time making some progress on the tasks before me instead of prematurely posting about them.

So one of the tasks that I have taken a deep dive into a new initiative around outsourcing jobs to refugee workers. This is an initiative that taps into a few areas of technology. Some of these areas include getting more familiar with artificial intelligence and machine learning and how these technologies can be leveraged to a learning and job outsourcing platform, including but not limited to standing up the architecture for a learning platform.

Furthermore, one of the areas that I have explored further is looking into artificial intelligence as a scalable tool as well as understanding the basic tools of AI through my company’s learning boards, tedtalks, speaking with managers, looking at deep dive documents, as well as sitting in on webcasts etc.

I have also had to make selections on the best tools to use to actually begin building out these courses, for which we have compiled information to make an informed decision. Especially since this will be a nonprofit initiative at first, saving upfront will be key for a low-budget launch.

One of the main takeaways of this experience as well as coming out of a few months of setting goals and failing to meet them:

  1. It is very hard to get yourself to do something if you don’t care or don’t enjoy it:
    1. this happened to me while trying to convince myself to just start from scratch just learning some code
    2. This is not something that I am particularly passionate about so of course I started off excited for a bit and then I just dropped it.
  2. It’s ok that this whole process of figuring out what learn will be a challenge and be messy
    1. I have been dabbling in a few different projects, from the nonprofit challenge to now working for an outsourcing social impact firm, there are several projects I find myself getting involved with different initiatives and it’s hard to make sense of it all
    2. I have found that to make sense of things it does help to make buckets and use an agenda to track progress in this buckets of activities
  3. Now that I have gotten a hold of a long-term project with a focus on technology and social impact, I can both apply my skills and stay with it for much longer!

Let me know if you have any questions on your own endeavors!