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Sara Blakely is an American inspiration. The founder of the iconic Spanx product line, she was born in Florida and is a graduate of Florida State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications. Sarah rethought her original aspiration of a career in law after she received a low score on the LSAT, the exam that determines admittance to law school. While deciding on a new career path, she worked at Orlando’s Disney World and as a part-time stand up comedienne. She went on to sell fax machines door to door for an office supply company. Her success in sales earned her a promotion to National Sales Trainer. This role inadvertently led to the idea that catapulted her to fame and success. It required that she wear formal business attire, including pantyhose. She loathed the heat and restriction of the pantyhose – especially the seam across the toe when wearing open…

Honolulu, Hawaii born Michelle Wie learned to play golf at the very young age of four. Displaying amazing skill and aptitude, she qualified for a USGA tournament when she was only ten years old and went on to become the youngest female to compete against men in a PGA Tour event. She won her very first LPGA victory in 2010, and her first major tournament at the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open. Wie is the daughter of South Korean immigrants. Her family immigrated to the United States in the 1980’s. Wie held dual citizenship of South Korea and the United States. In 2013, though, she renounced her South Korean citizenship. Born in 1989, Michelle attended Punahou School in Honolulu. She went on to attend Stanford University. She regularly attended the fall and winter semesters, saving the other semesters to play on the golf circuit. Even with this rigorous schedule, she graduated…

Selena Quintanilla-Pérez was a singer, songwriter, spokesperson, actress, and fashion designer whose life was cut tragically short. Known as the Queen of Tejano music, she was one of the most celebrated Mexican-American entertainers of her day. Originally a member of the band, Selena y Los Dinoa, she performed with two of her siblings. She soon began a solo career and launched her first solo album to great success. She went on to win the Tejano Music Award for Female Vocalist of the Year in 1987. Her album, Entre a Mi Mundo, soared to number one on the U.S. Billboard Regional Mexican Albums chart where it remained for a remarkable nineteen weeks. She followed this success by creating and singing songs in English for her debut crossover album. Of his daughter’s natural talent, her father said, “Her timing, her pitch were perfect, I could see it from day one.” After being…

Singer, songwriter, dancer, and record producer, Shakira Mebarak is a Colombian native making outstanding contributions on the American music scene. Although her initial album was not a commercial success, she found fame with subsequent albums, Pies Descalzos and Dónde Están los Ladrones. Her first English language album Laundry Service was a 2002 best seller. Fans flocked to the albums hit single, Whenever, Wherever. Shakira’s other hits include Hips Don’t Lie, Waka Waka, and Can’t Remember to Forget You. Her music awards include: five MTV Video Music Awards two Grammy Awards eight Latin Grammy Awards seven Billboard Music Awards 28 Billboard Latin Music Awards Attaining these and other awards and accomplishments is a testimony to her never give up spirit. “I’ve always thought of myself as a woman who works hard, believes in herself, and wants to accomplish as much as possible,” says the international superstar. Noted for her dancing ability…

Maria Teresa Kumar is currently serving as the president and CEO of Voto Latino, a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization founded in the United States in 2004. The organization strives to steer young adult Hispanic and Latino voters toward voter registration and political involvement. At the young age of twelve, Maria Teresa Kumar traveled on a class trip to Washington. She promptly fell in love with the city and vowed to return to it in adulthood. After watching her father become seriously ill, which forced her mother to struggle to support the family, she was deeply alarmed by the lack of help and government service available to Latinos in California. After earning a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations from the University of California at Davis, Kumar obtained a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.  She accepted a job with former Democratic Representative, Vic Fazio. Following this…

Routinely depicted in movies and cartoons, Pocahontas was, in actuality, a real Powhatan woman with a rich history and amazing life. Contrary to popular myth, Pocahontas never married Captain John Smith. Although her life is often depicted in film as fanciful and romantic, her real history is one of tragedy, triumph, and heroism. Pocahontas was her childhood nickname. Her name at birth was Matoaka. Born around 1596, she was the daughter of a Native American Powhatan, paramount chief of Tsenacommacah. She spent her childhood learning to farm, forage for food, and track down other native materials that could be used to build the thatched huts they lived in. In keeping with the Powhatan people’s tradition, she was given several names. Among them were Matoaka, Amonute, Pocahontas (a childhood nickname), and Matoax On the death of her mother at her birth, Pocahontas became a favorite of her father. He was adored…

Jeanette Epps, an astronaut, is on a space mission that will make her the first black woman to work as a member of a crew on the International Space Station (ISS). She is also the thirteenth woman to call ISS home since the founding of the station in the year 1998. NASA presently announced that Jeanette Epps is going to be a flight engineer with veteran astronaut Andrew Feustel in May 2018 on Expedition 56. According to a press release, they will remain on board for 6 months for Expedition 57. NASA has already sent 14 black astronauts (eleven of them are men while three are women), embarking on space travel in its history. Although most of those black astronauts traveled into space, none of them remained aboard. The first black woman astronaut to travel in space under the NASA space program is Mae Jemison in 1992. She went into…

Dilma Vana Rousseff is the first woman to serve as the President of Brazil. Raised in upper middle class Belo Horizonte, she has been active in Brazilian politics since her youth. As a socialist and political voice, she experienced many trials and struggles. Following the political coup in 1964, she was tortured and jailed for two years. After her release, Rousseff relocated to Porto Alegre where she would live for the next thirty years. There, she and her husband, helped found the Democratic Labour Party in Rio Grande do Sul. Rousseff became the Treasury Secretary of Porto Alegre. She later went on to become the Secretary of Energy of Rio Grande do Sul. In 2002, Rousseff became a committee member of a group of energy policy advisors to President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who invited her to serve as Minister of Energy. She then replaced the Chief of Staff…

Mila Kunis, with her dark hair and exotic looks is such a part of the celebrity scene in America that it’s difficult to imagine Hollywood without her. She’s a famous American actress who relocated from the Ukraine to Los Angeles at the age of seven. She says of her childhood in the Ukraine, “I grew up incredibly poor and went to school and had a very average upbringing.” Milena (Mila) Kunis was born in Chernivtsi, Ukraine. Her parents made the difficult decision to move to the US because they could not envision a future for Mila and her brother in their native Ukraine. The move proved particularly trying for Kunis. Her family arrived in the US on a Friday and she and her brother were enrolled in elementary school the following Monday. She struggled to adapt to American schools and says she cried every day. She could not understand the…

Elizabeth Helen Blackburn is an Australian-American scientist who is currently serving as the President of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. Born in Tasmania, Blackburn was one of seven children. Her parents were both doctors who encouraged her love of science. Elizabeth spent her early years in the Northern Tasmanian town of Launceston. She was curious about animals, nature and biology from a young age and an avid reader of books about science and scientists. One of her early favorites was the biography of Marie Curie.  By the time she was a teenager, Blackburn knew she wanted to pursue a career in science and biochemistry. In one interview, she stated, “Perhaps arising from a fascination with animals, biology seemed the most interesting of sciences to me as a child.” She attended University High School in Melbourne. While the school did not offer classes in physics, Latin or Greek, they did…