Category — education

Guest Post: A Big Hand for Increased Amount of Hispanics in College, but Take On the Challenge

I’m happy to introduce to you Kelly Dawes, she will be guest blogging at Brand Lateen for a few weeks. A little bit more about Kelly

Chicago raised girl living in Dallas who’s goal is to break down cultural barriers by using her skills and talents to create inspiring messages that in turn impact individuals’ lives. Personal quote, “Life has so many places I want to visit, faces I want to meet and lives I hope to touch.”

A Big Hand for Increased Amount of Hispanics in College, but Take On the Challenge.

By: Kelly Dawes

The word recession is at the tip of everyone’s tongue, in the back of every CEO’s mind, and behind every business’s financial reports. Some are optimistic about the future while others are uncertain. With large numbers of individuals struggling to find jobs, many have returned back to school in hopes of bettering their credentials and with the goal of ultimately landing a job.

What is certain is that amidst this economic uncertainty there is an increase in freshman enrollment at four-year colleges, community colleges and trade schools since 2007 (Fry 2010). Not only has the recession increased the number of students attending post-secondary institutions, a huge surge in Hispanic attendees has dominated that boom. For the first time, Hispanics are outnumbering young blacks on campus; Hispanics ages 18-24 now make up 24% of total college enrollment and are the largest minority group on college campuses (Tavernise 2011). With a 7% population increase among Hispanics per the 2010 U.S. Census, it’s clear that more than a population increase contributed to the narrowing of this gap.

A huge applause is in order for this increase in Hispanic college attendees. More and more Hispanics are receiving higher education, which has the potential to develop remarkable new minds and create great talent. What exactly does this recent trend mean for advertisers? The need for Hispanic advertising is growing, but how does that specifically impact the advertising scene? A 2008 College Board study found that in 2008 the average amount that students owed in loans once they graduated was $23,000 (Thomas 2010), with more and more of Generation Y opting for the “pay for it later” mindset, even adding to their credit card debt. On average, General Y has more than three credit cards and 20% carry a balance of more than $10,000 according to Fidelity Investments.

As a current graduate student in my second year, I can relate to the norm of my generation with large debt in student loans. I filed for student loans for the first time a year ago and within 25 minutes, my school authorized the loans from just a few mouse clicks. With those few clicks a life-changing thing happened: I had thousands of dollars of debt in my name and no degree or job yet to pay those loans back. The thought kept me up those first few months as I embarked on my journey to receive my Masters. A while later, I received an $8,000 reimbursement check for overestimating the loans I needed. For Generation Y, we look at this huge check written in our name and cashing it is beyond tempting. What is even scarier is that I have seen many of my friends use the reimbursement check they receive from the government not towards rent or living expenses, but instead towards splurge purchases: a spring break vacation, high heel shoes, a party they “had to throw,” or even a new laptop that they did not need. The struggles of my generation are very apparent to me in my daily life.

As media leaders who are creating messages geared towards the growing number of Hispanic college attendees, it’s our responsibility to be aware of this generation’s financial debt. More and more of Generation Y is going into debt during their schooling, which means growing amounts of Hispanics are struggling in this same area. We can either create messages that mirror society or instead create messaging that helps mold society.

Our advertising choices—in the messages we create, the decisions we make behind closed doors on campaign ideas and pitches—should reflect this growing economic concern. Finances and debt impact everyone, but we have the ability to help foster positive change, especially with Hispanics, through our advertisements.  For the next few decades, Hispanics are predicted to continue growing in college attendance and one day are predicted to no longer be the minority.  This too should be applauded, but remember their financial struggles, and take that on as your challenge.

September 29, 2011   6 Comments

Guest post about Lateens

guest post by Laura Elena Morales Garza

My name is Laura Elena and I’m a psychologist and an English teacher, with a Master’s Degree on Linguistics in English. I started teaching at 17 and have been doing so for the last 30 years. I’ve taught ESL in all levels, from elementary school through University, and from beginners – advanced. For the last 13 years I’ve been teaching at a private university in Mexico, and have been in charge of the language department for the last 5. I’m currently teaching the advanced level and my main focus is to have students become proficient in the use of the language; most of my students have  had contact with English since they were toddlers, and have studied in bilingual schools, or private schools where ESL is a very important part of the school curriculum.

As part of my Advanced English class I decided to use some of the material from  I selected 13 different entries, printed them out and gave a different one to each student. My students read them on their own and then we all sat down together to share and discuss each story.

My class is made up of 19 students with an Advanced English level, with a TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score of over 550 pts. They are all freshmen in a Private University, and most of them started learning ESL since they were 5 or 6 years old.

The whole activity took about 80 minutes and students shared and discussed personal experiences:

  • A girl had lived for some time in the USA and she had the experience of working as an interpreter for some government agency; among the things she had to do were to tell people they had lost their job, or that they were required to have certain papers in order for them to receive some service. She had to do this with people who spoke only Spanish, and she had to live difficult moments when these people asked her to help them and to tell her employer not to fire them or to ask for something. She said she couldn’t do all this, she only had to translate and she couldn’t help these people, making her have mixed feelings.
  • Several  students have had the experience of helping their parents when they have gone to the States as the parents don’t speak English and they do; so they’ve been translators several times and under different circumstances. One of the boys has not only been a translator when traveling, but he’s had to help with the business; his father has  a franchise from an international company, and he’s had to help with contracts and business issues. He feels the pressure, as a  lot depends on his performance, and not only the written papers, but also on the interviews and phone calls he constantly has to make.
  •  The students mentioned how they identify with the description of Lateens depicted in several stories, even though they are Mexicans living in Mexico, they feel they have the same roots, share cultural experiences and family stories.
  •  About homosexuality they feel that it’s a big taboo in our society, so they concluded that it must be really difficult for a lateen to accept his/her homosexuality. Mixed feelings, which are normal in these cases, become even stronger when lateens are living in an “open” society, but in a very narrow-minded culture at home.
  •  When talking about reading students reported how little they read! It is a big problem in our country, and students are used to reading only when it is mandatory for school – several of them even reported that the only reading they have done this semester are the two books that are mandatory for my subject!  I asked them if they were read to when they were children, and only 3 or 4 students remembered being read to before going to bed.  We have a Chinese exchange student girl in this class and she had never had this experience, she even had trouble understanding what I meant, but then she grasped the idea and was happy to report that her grandmother always told her stories before going to bed – reading to children is not part of her culture, but telling stories is, and it normally is done by elders.
  •  There were a lot of comments on how Hispanics will be taking over a few years from now, as long as they become aware of the power they can have should they decide to continue studying. Given the large number of Hispanics living in the US, education and unity can make the difference.

All in all the activity proved to be very productive, not only because students were able to practice their English, but because through a meaningful experience they were able to analyze and discuss current problems that we sometimes don’t know about. We normally look at immigration problems related to deportation or jobs our migrants may obtain. Brandlateen blog gave us an insight into everyday situations, and it gave us an opportunity to reflect and analyze our own life.

After class, and to round up the activity, the students were asked to go into the web page and give feedback to either the entry they had read in class, or to a different one. It was very satisfactory to learn that most of them read some more of the entries and gave feedback to a different one from the one they had originally read.

March 26, 2011   3 Comments

Niños Californianos: A New Face For California Youth

Last week, early census numbers revealed that more than half of the children in California are Latino.  The country’s most populous state is the first to follow the forecasts of Hispanics overtaking whites as the largest minority.  If you’d like to read a little more about this new statistic, check it out here.

This confirms that Hispanics are indeed the face of California’s future (as if we didn’t already know).  A state like California, rich in culture, and the once main destination for many Americans, is yet again in a state of flux.  Only this time, it is facing a different challenge.  Regardless of what the numbers say, this reality is a tough one for many people to swallow.  California is the setting for a bulk of Hispanic history in America, so this news seems very fitting, especially for the time.  And considering the state’s political landscape, changes like these are more welcomed than they are in other regions of the country.  But California will not be the only state where Hispanics take the lead for long.  So any local or state initiatives that affect Hispanics will serve as a model for other states soon to follow the trend.

The most important initiative must be education.  With most children in Cali now being Latino, efforts to revitalize and sustain quality education, maintain schools, and recruit and retain well-qualified teachers can no longer be segmented.  When you live in a state where most of your children are Hispanic, and when Hispanics are more likely to drop out of school than any other group, reaching them is not an option and should not be taken lightly.

In our work with the local Hispanic high schools, we have met so many promising students with the will and the wit to not only get into college, but excel in college.  Young Hispanics in America stand out.  Many times their focus is on the wrong thing, but under no circumstances does this mean they’re not smart.  They’re born with a common sense many adults don’t even possess, and whether it’s through their own experiences, or witnessing their parents’ drive, they understand hard work.  If California is going to continue serving as a pillar of this nation, the state’s leaders much begin connecting with its children now.  And although education needs to remain the focus, merely getting to know them, and learning to understand how they think must be achieved as well.  And it needs to happen now.  I read a distasteful article the other day published by Tulsa World titled “Hispanic Population Growing; we must deal with it.”  Granted, even though the home of many Indian reservations, Oklahoma isn’t exactly considered famous for its embracement of diversity.  But this article was published less than a month ago, and proves that if the kids in California are already mostly Hispanic, then the rest of the country still has quite a ways to go.

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March 15, 2011   1 Comment

Adios 2010

It’s been a little while.  First of all, Happy 2011!  Brand Lateen has been up and running for almost a full year, and we’re excited to see what this year has in store for us.  As we gear up for yet another year of discoveries about our evolving young Latino consumer, let’s first bid a proper despedida to 2010.

I’ll start with an update on how our program at W.H. Adamson High School finished out.  Our four classes did a wonderful job, and we saw a positive change in attitude in many of the students.  From having little to no interest in advertising, and very limited knowledge of the field, a lot of the students had done a complete 180 by the last day of the program.  As they came closer to a finished product, enthusiasm we had not seen prior began to emerge from many of them.

We ended it all with a day at the agency and then each class presented their campaigns to a board of judges.  The judges chose the Boost Mobile campaign as the winner based on how well-thought out and consistent it was throughout.  Their presentation had the least hiccups of any of the groups, and they kept their audience engaged and informed.  Their creative was very in touch with the brand, and much of the artwork done for the project was outstanding.  Each person in the Boost Mobile group was awarded a $10 gift certificate to Target, a free extra value meal and a free hot chocolate from McDonald’s.

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January 3, 2011   1 Comment

Lateens at school

I had the opportunity to go to W.H. Adamson High last week and see our classes brainstorm ideas for their advertising campaigns. See related topic on previous post, and the takeaway of my experience below.

I LOVE being around Lateens. Young people in general, but Lateens in particular because every time I leave the school or I have been around them, I feel so energized, refreshed, so alive. Here are some of the words I wrote down while they were brainstorming that I thought best described them:

• Funny, super funny. They make jokes about the simplest of things every once in a while.

• Creative, it took them less than 15 minutes to come up with good ideas for their advertising campaigns.

• Short attention span, super short, you better keep them entertained.
I feel like you have to challenge them, make them think and make it quickly because they seem to get bored fairly easy.

• Real

• Sincere

• They love music. Music is their life.

• Smart

I know these are very generic words and I don’t mean to generalize Lateens, but I wish everybody had the opportunity to go and see for themselves, spend time with them. They are complex, yet simple characters. They are vibrant, yet get bored extremely easily and can come across as apathetic if you don’t look close enough. They are mostly shy, but school is their familiar environment and they feed off of each other’s courage.
Being around them was the best part of my day.

November 22, 2010   6 Comments

Myspace vs. Facebook

What is Myspace? To many it’s a way to stay connected with current friends.  For others it’s a way to find friends who they have not seen in a while. Some people use it as a way to make new friends or flirt with someone they’ve never met. While Myspace users use the site to listen to music, write blogs or to upload videos, the truth is that Myspace is just a simple way to have fun while you network.  Having a Myspace page isn’t the easiest thing to do either. When you create an account, you have activated a profile. A profile that millions of people around the world can see and read. There is this belief that Myspace is for teens and Facebook for adults, and to be quite honest I agree.

I have a Myspace page, and I have to admit that it can sometimes be tough keeping up with a profile. The music you put on your profile is usually related to the mood you happen to be in. For example, many who appear to be in love have songs relating to passion, or those who are heartbroken play songs that show how their heart burns when they think of that certain someone. Believe it or not, when someone chooses a song, there is a lot of thought that goes into it. The beat of the song can label you with your friends too, making you cool or just a weirdo.  Myspace is merely another way teens express themselves, and many use it as a tool to attract more “friends” and gain popularity.

I noticed a lot of the things that go on in Myspace are childish and can potentially be very dangerous. There are many young girls out there exposing themselves a little too much to in an effort to catch guys’ attention, or even guys taking pictures of themselves showing their abs wearing only a towel. Although at times it’s funny to see pictures where they are half naked or just showing “booty,” it does not make it right. On Myspace there is SO much unnecessary drama. You have people threatening each other, you have people updating their life via their status…which in my opinion is ridiculous. It’s sad that things like this take Myspace beyond being just a chatting site. They turn it into free access for molesters to peruse for victims, or for others to bully and harass people. So now that I feel a bit more mature and feel that Myspace is no longer for me, I decided to move to Facebook. [Read more →]

August 10, 2010   1 Comment

Lateen Workers

The following entry serves as a second part to the previous entry, “A Lateen in a Latin Country.”

I think anyone with a good set of eyes can tell blue apart from red, yellow from green and white from brown. In my short week at Costa Rica it was obvious to many of the locals that I was different from the majority of the other Americans I was traveling with. Not just because of my personality, but because of the color of my skin. Although the group I was with did an awesome job, the locals of Parismina asked so many questions about what they do at home because, as they insisted, it seemed like they had never worked a day in their lives. Don’t get me wrong, it was a great group of people and all of the tasks we took charge of, we finished together. I really don’t think there is a group with more heart. But as I interacted with some of my new friends from places like Canada and Colorado, I was shocked by a turn in the conversation.

“Adan, you are a very motivated and ambitious guy,” one said. I smiled and said “I just want a better life for myself and my parents.” She smiled and responded “I wish that I had a reason to push myself more, or at least to be hungry for something better.” This struck me, and very curious, I had to ask, “Why?”

“Everything has been handed to me all my life. I really do not know the meaning of hard work besides school work.” We both laughed, but I can’t manage to forget her words. I know I cannot speak in generalities, but I came to the conclusion that many other non-ethnic groups really don’t know the meaning of working hard to survive in this greedy world, or at least in the United States of America. [Read more →]

August 5, 2010   No Comments

A Lateen in a Latin Country.

Visiting another house isn’t always the easiest or most comfortable thing to do. Now, in case you haven’t already, imagine visiting a country. Meeting new people can be challenging, so think about meeting over 100 individuals and living in the same space with them for over 300 hours. Sounds scary I know, but I can honestly say that my recent experience in Costa Rica was one that made me grow into a better person.

It all started Friday, July 16 at 4 in the morning, maybe even earlier since I couldn’t fall asleep due to excitement. I got up, looked around my room, and noticed my blue backpack, a small luggage bag full to the brim, my money next to my passport, and my ID. Before I knew it I was hugging my dad and saying my goodbye.

Shortly after, I got a hug myself, but it was actually just the security guard wrapping his arms around me as he searched me (a little too slowly I might add) at the DFW Airport. First stop: Houston. I felt like we arrived there as soon as I closed my eyes. I continued to absorb my surroundings. And all of a sudden it hit me – I was all on my own. After a couple of hours I was finally walking onto the next plane. I made sure I had both of my cameras and my cell phone. I knew the island wasn’t going to have signal for my mobile, but I carried it to listen to music. Hours after I buckled up, the plane’s captain made two announcements: First, to be courteous to the people next to you. Second, to enjoy the first view of the Costa Rican coast. [Read more →]

August 4, 2010   1 Comment

Little Adults

When I was in, let’s say, the third grade, one of the most fun things I got to do was help my very Mexican grandmother pay bills.  She moved to the U.S. from Puebla to be close to us, and as a result, it turned out that she also took on a serious amount of cooking responsibilities.  Anyway, when the first and middle of the month came around, my dad would take me to her apartment (about 2 minutes from our house) to visit, and do chores that to this day I feel they completely made up.  Part of the task was to help Abuelita look after her finances.  Small apartment, so there was rent.  Utilities consisted of electric, water, and trash.  Cable wasn’t important so she didn’t have it.  Mi abuela, Vicenta, never bothered to learn even the slightest bit of English, therefore, the mail she didn’t toss consisted of bills.  My dad thought it would be a nice gesture for me to help her make the payments, not so much because he thought he was teaching me a vital duty, but probably more because two adults got a kick out of watching a 7-year-old write checks.  Either way, I learned how to write a check as a young kid.  Think about that playground banter.  “You beat me in a race?  Whatever.  I write checks!  Para mi abuela.  ¿QUÉ?”

That was me, then, different situation too.

Today, there are still plenty of young second generation Hispanics not only filling out checks, but translating medical conversations, city ordinances, legal documents, and a number of other adult-like tasks, trust me.  Most of the time, the young people who are in charge of these kinds of things tend to be older now.  But regardless of age, they’re often faced with important matters to resolve.  How do you think it must feel in between a doctor and your mother, when you have to translate the doctor’s bad news and serious concern regarding high blood pressure?  Once negative predictions and details are revealed, immediate worry may settle in fast.  How would you react to having to tell your parents that the house you’re renting is soon to be bulldozed to make way for new condominiums?  I know, these are extremes, but for immigrant families this is often an unkind reality.  As kids, it’s not their concern, and they’re not expected to do anything about it.  But as the interpreters, they know everything.  I’m not totally sure, but I think it’s safe to say that no matter your background or culture, you strive to shield your children from these types of malas notcias.

Most Lateens don’t get that guard though.  In many Hispanic families, the role of sole interpreter is always established.  It’ll usually be the oldest kid, and that child has an actual job.  It’s almost like a service.  I wouldn’t say they mature faster, but they do acquire this sort of skill set early, early on.  And when times get tough, they’re right in the heat of it.  It doesn’t necessarily make them smarter of savvier (well, maybe), but in a way it does rob them of their innocence and childhood.  Do you think this role exists in non-Hispanic families?  Highly unlikely.

So what do you think?  Advantage or disadvantage?  It’s a fine line.  Does possessing knowledge of adult burdens make you more mature?  I don’t know.  Nevertheless, Lateens today carry more weight than you think.  This might add some insight to the rough edges you notice once in a while.  The grownup persona could be there for more reasons than you imagine.

July 27, 2010   6 Comments

Cool Lateens – Julian Castro

A leader is someone that makes people believe in them, but a great leader is someone that makes people believe in themselves. That truth is all around the world. In different settings, there is always that one person that instills people with pride; there is always one person that makes a difference. For example in India, Ghandi believed in peace, in Rome Julius Caesar believed in fighting for the people, in the United States Martin Luther King, Jr. believed in a dream of equality. These individuals (and many more throughout time) allowed their beliefs to shape history for good and bad. These types of historical events inspire others to bend the rules, seek change, and pursue their convictions. A great example is Barack Obama: the first African-American President of the United States. He has made many people around the world believe that anything is possible. Now many Lateens are beginning to ask themselves; Who will represent us? Who will be the face of a progressive Latino society? I wish I could magically skip a few years to start my dream of being a “great” politician and run for Mayor, then Governor and who knows? Maybe even President. But the reality is I can’t skip ahead, and unfortunately I am not old enough. The fact is we need someone, and we need that person NOW.

Don’t have fear, Julián Castro is here! No, he is not a superhero, but he is a Latino politician. Castro was born in San Antonio on September 16, 1974 (also the same day of Mexico’s Independence Day). He is the twin brother of Joaquín Castro. He graduated in 1996 from Stanford University, majoring in political science and communications. He said he began thinking about entering politics while at Stanford. He later graduated from Harvard Law School.  Interestingly enough, his brother graduated from both schools with him.

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July 7, 2010   No Comments