Escrito por: Alexa Figueroa
Photo by: Alexa Figueroa
If you’re looking for a teacher by day and Dungeons and Dragons enthusiast by night, look no further than Yakie Palma. She is an elementary education major planning to start her career as a second-grade teacher after graduation.
Palma grew up in Prince George's County and transferred to UMD from Prince George's Community College. She is the daughter of Salvadoran immigrants. Her dad is from Santa Ana y su mama es de La Unión.
Como estudiante universitaria de primera generación e hija de inmigrantes salvadoreños, Palma dice que quiere ser un ejemplo para su familia y hermanos menores y demostrarles que ellos también pueden obtener sus títulos.
“We know how there's a lot of students in the Latinx community that dropped out of college or high school at an early age. And...I want to encourage people to want to go to college, and I want to be an example, to encourage my family to go to college.”
Su propio viaje personal en la educación la ha inspirado para mostrar a los estudiantes que siempre estará en su rincón.
Palma remembers a time in middle school cuando sus maestros le dijeron a su clase que no iban a tener éxito and were not going to amount to anything.
“That’s not how a teacher should be talking to a student. Especially us Black and Brown students who are always being left behind.”
Ella dice que esta experiencia la moldeó y la ayudó a darse cuenta de que la educación necesita ser reformada.
“I want to help students because I know society's gonna give up on them. And I don't want to give up on them.”
You might find Palma playing Dungeons and Dragons in her free time or volunteering in the community. Her volunteer work involves helping Latinx students apply for scholarships and college; she also supports different daycare centers when needed.
La religión juega un papel importante en la vida de Palma, ella siente que Dios la ayuda a liderar el camino y su presencia en su vida la calma.
I tell myself, just leave it up to God and go on from there...That kind of helped me with my anxiety a lot. Y debido a esa creencia, he estado logrando muchas cosas. I truly believe it's because of my faith that has helped push me and put me where I am today.”
Palma received the full-tuition Frederick Douglass Scholarship for transfer students and will be graduating debt free.
“For all the students who are struggling right now, know that you are making your family and the Latino community proud. Never give up on your dreams and continue to work hard. You are doing the best that you can and trust that the community recognizes you.”