Author Archives: Leticia Diaz, Chemistry

About Leticia Diaz, Chemistry

Hello UIC-Familia! I am a 5th Year Senior Majoring in Chemistry. I am graduating in May 2012, and plan to come back to UIC to receive a Master’s Degree in Energy Engineering. I grew up in “La Villita” in South Lawndale. I have two AMAZING parents, three exemplary siblings, and three precious nephews. I am a CHANCE Ambassador; I mentor and assist students that are in majors similar to mine and ultimately help them go through some of the same struggles that I have gone through. I am a proud board member of SHPE-UIC, a national organization that promotes the advancement of Latinos through STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Awareness. Our UIC chapter is recognized as being the Most Valuable Large Chapter in the Nation.


Hello UIC!

I hope your week is going smoothly. It’s the 4th week of the semester! It is going by really quickly. This week consisted of classes, work commitments, time with friends, meetings, and a lot of anticipation.

My classes are going pretty smoothly, my first exam is schedule for Monday, February 13, 2012. I am excited yet nervous. I am also really glad that some of my teachers are giving us take home midterms which I have never had, it seems like a good change. My Physics 116 Professor, Dr. Hoffman let us borrow a “Kill A Watt”. It’s a really interesting apparatus that allows the user to calculate the efficiency of an appliance. I can’t wait to unplug and plug all of my appliances to the Kill A Watt.

I have the opportunity to work with other students and administrative staff in the planning of a new event geared toward the UIC community and their family. It would be a new event to help out students in that awkward transition phase. I can remember when I came to UIC; it was hard to explain to my parents that school is my main focus and that I have to stay on campus almost all day because of the workload and the amount of studying that needs to be done. The event is still in the planning stage but I can guarantee that it will be worthwhile.

With such full weeks, it’s hard to make time with my high school friends, especially since they are always working or out of town.  This time I had the opportunity to go get some wings with my high school friend. We had the opportunity to catch up and exchange Christmas and Birthday gifts (I still have her gifts hostage though). Life has given us ups and downs but I am very lucky to have such great relationships with family and friends.

I also had the opportunity to spend some time with my UIC friends. We went to the local Brazilian restaurant, Sabor Express, as you can see from the picture it was delicious. Aside from delicious food they also have great customer service; the manager brought our table a complimentary appetizer.  It was very surprising to realize that we hadn’t spent time together since last semester. Occasions like these definitely have to occur more often.

SHPE-UIC held its Second Meeting of the Spring Semester. We had the pleasure to have one of our own Alumni, Jaime Frausto, come to talk to our members about the company he works for and give us insight on the corporate world. The members really enjoyed the meeting and a lot of positive feedback was given.

Thank You Maribel Arellano for the picture.

This weekend will be full of excitement. On Friday, the ILS-AMP Conference starts; it is a conference like no other. Students and professionals have the chance to present their research to the participants of the conference and it really gives attendants the motivation to do research and even pursue a post baccalaureate degree. It’s filled with motivational speakers and inspirational individuals.

On Saturday, the Middle School Regional Science Bowl will take place. It’s a fast paced Jeopardy style competition. Students from around the city get the chance to participate for a chance to win an all expense paid trip to Washington DC and compete in the National Science Bowl Competition. This is my first time volunteering in the competition room. I will be serving as a scorekeeper; I could just imagine how exciting the competition room will be. It will give me the chance to perfect my scorekeeping skills for the High School Regional Science Bowl on February 24th.

Next week I will definitely update you on the events and let you know how my birthday goes.

Thanks for reading this week!


Hola UIC!

I hope your school week, is going AWESOME! It’s the third week; things are starting to really pick up. I had my first lab report for my Inorganic Chemistry class due today. I love it when we get rubrics; they really help me get started. I have a lot of trouble with art and writing, it takes me a while to finish an art or writing project, that is why I have to start those assignments early.

I had a good weekend with my family. My mom babysits my youngest nephew everyday so I rarely even see her. It was good to spend time with her and my oldest nephew, Alex, who can only visit us sometimes. He is a really sweet kid. We took him to the Flea Market. Although we did not buy anything special, we did have time to sit down and enjoy some diablitos. They are a shaved ice drink that is made with: tamarindo (tamarind), chamoy (no translation), red pepper, pineapple, lemon, cucumbers, and a Mexican tamarind candy. It’s spicy and a better summer option but it is very delicious. The person who sells them is from Morelos, a state in Mexico, where diablitos are commonly made.  Another thing native to Morelos, Chinelos, a form of dance that uses big costumes and really upbeat music, it is mostly performed during the carnival season during lent and other festive occasions. I strongly encourage you to look up some of the videos from the festivals. They look like so much fun.

Speaking (or should I say writing) of fun, I got to see my co-worker, Christian, in action last Friday. His student organization, Movimiento Latino, performed at a variety show. They are all talented dancers and their passion is transmitted with every step they take. They brought a lot of flavor and energy to the event.

I received some wonderful news today. I was selected to attend Alternative Spring Break (ASB) to Appalachia with the Newman Center. We, the volunteers, get the opportunity to build homes for low income families in Eastern Kentucky. It will surely be an unforgettable Spring Break.

This week was extremely packed. With a lot of upcoming events like: The SHPE-UIC Meeting (January 31st), The Illinois Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (ILS-AMP) Conference (February 3-4 ), the CHANCE Ambassador hosted Fun-A-Thon (Look out for the date), Regional Science Bowls (Middle School February 4th and High School February 25th), I am Woman Conference (March 3rd and 4th), the ASB volunteering week (March 16-20), and the SHPE Region 6 Regional Leadership Development Conference (March 29-April 1), it was a week full of planning meetings, proposal writing, and inspiration. I had the opportunity to speak with some of the students from our high school component (SHPE Jr.) at Juarez Community Academy and Roosevelt High School, they are truly admirable. I did have a lot of support from my co-chairs (Anthony and Victor) they are also looking forward to the students’ success.

Sorry for only one picture. Next Week I promise there will be more. Comment below for any questions or suggestions for next week.

Thanks for reading this week. (Especially my “Super Mega Fan”, Erika Ayala)

“Cheese Tia!”

Hello UIC!

It is the second week of school (January 16-20). Do not forget, this is the last week to submit any changes to your schedule without a “W”, declare any pass or fail classes, or petition for grade recalculation (this is standard with most colleges but check with yours just to make sure). Now that all of the schedules are finalized, the semester can truly start. So far I am quite impressed with my classes.  My Energy classes in particular are extremely interesting, they give me new insight on alternative energy and it really makes me think about the future of energy.  It makes us the students assess ourselves and allows reflection on our way of thinking and how narrow minded we can be sometimes. I cannot wait to start my project; we have to design a new alternative source of renewable energy.

Now that classes have started I do not have as much time to spend with my family. I do however try to visit my nephews whenever possible. This past weekend, I visited my two nephews and was invited to make my first snow man with my nephew, as they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words”. Here is our product and my nephew. Every time he says, “Cheese Tia!” my heart melts a little. Although, his mom and I did most of the work, he shows true signs of leadership, he delegated and motivated us throughout our construction.

This week was full of extracurricular activities. On Wednesday was our first Spring General Meeting for SHPE-UIC, I was extremely happy to walk into a full room. It is always good to see the chapter growing, it allows for the sustainability of the chapter. We are lucky to be housed in the College of Engineering and to have admirable advisors and leaders. Our dedicated advisors always take time out for us and help our members out in every way possible. Our leaders are always willing to take time out for the betterment of our community.

*Thanks to Perla Rodriguez for the group picture*

On Thursday, we attended our second basketball game together. The flames did a good job against Butler. Along with having sometime to bond during the game, we also had the opportunity to win some money for our student organization. If we had the most students attend the Basketball Game, we would get money for our programming. Although we have a large mirage of ideas and motivated members, money is always needed for our outreach events, scholarship opportunities, and our robot. We hope that the results are favorable.

Thursday was also a very important day for my support program, CHANCE. We had our Informational meeting where we gave new students insight on how they could benefit from the program and showed the success of our programming through examples and success stories from our own students. I also had the pleasure of telling the Women in the room about our upcoming I am Woman Conference, which is sure to be full of networking and novel opportunities for all women on the UIC Campus. If you would like to attend, let me know and I will gladly send you a personal “e-vite” and keep you informed about workshops, companies represented, and the agenda.

I am looking forward to another trip down Latin American gastronomy with some of my favorite kids. So far we have visited restaurants that represent the following countries: Panama, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, and Guatemala. Our next visit will most likely be to a Chilean restaurant for “empanadas”. I love living in Chicago, we are very fortunate to have so much diversity. If you have any good suggestions for a restaurant or would like to come, let me know.

This was a very full week, next week already seems pretty hectic but we will have to wait and see.

Thanks for reading this week!

First Week of School!

Hey Y’all!

I hope your first week was the bomb. I am super excited about my schedule this semester; two Energy classes, Linear Algebra, Inorganic Chemistry, and Communication. All of my teachers are AWESOME, they are truly committed to their work and it shows in the way they conduct class.

Choosing the right classes was not at all easy, especially since I was able to register just this week. That old UIC saying, “you have to keep checking for open spots”, was truly evident here. I cannot recall the amount of times I refreshed the page on myUIC, eventually nature took its course and my perfect classes opened up.

Speaking of nature, the first snow of the winter season started today. I love how the city looks covered in snow. I especially like the campus, the trees look so beautiful. Here are a couple of pictures I took on my way to make a delivery. I am glad we get a U-Pass to move freely, I can’t imagine how bad the driving conditions were. If you figure out where these pictures were taken, you get a chocolate.

With school comes the school work, although it’s only the first week, my first speech is due today; I hope I don’t get super red in front of the class. I do have a lot of reading to do this weekend, good thing the readings are on a really interesting topic, energy.

On a side note, I was introduced to the Google Calendar on my phone this week. It is very helpful, I was thinking of just getting a new planner, but this is more convenient. Sometimes I do get a little apprehensive about writing down things to do. I do not think I can go completely paperless forever.

Next week more pictures to come.

It’s going to be a busy week along with more assignments, here are other events. Come out!

-SHPE-UIC’s First General Meeting on Wednesday 1/18 at 5:30 in the Latino Cultural Center

-The CHANCE Program’s Informational on Thursday 1/19 at 4:30 in SCE Room 302

Thanks for reading this week!


Fresh Paint!

My first blog, how exciting! Winter Break was AWESOME, a good mix of rest and havoc.

Now that winter break is over, time for the semester excitement to begin. This week we (the CHANCE Office) moved back into our cozy corner. It has been remodeled with a vibrant color boost. We also made sure to update our board with new events and pictures from our Family Night Trolley Ride.

I love the holiday season, as part of a big family, there was a large amount of preparation to be done for the holidays.  My favorite holiday, New Year, is the one that needs the most preparation. First, the whole house has to be cleaned spotless. We have to buy enough grapes so that everyone can have twelve for the countdown. Lentils in your pocket are a must to ensure financial stability for the whole year. Most importantly everyone in the family must be together, this signifies the unity that we hope to maintain the whole year.

Along with superstitions and traditions comes the delectable food. My favorite drink of the holiday season is Ponche; a warm form of real fruit punch that is delicious. It is made with fruits like: guayaba (guava), caña (sugar cane), tejocote (no translation), ciruelas (prunes), tamarindo (tamarind), manzanas (apples), and more.

On Wednesday, I was excited to go to Lalo’s on Maxwell with some of my friends to get a complete Latin Dance Lesson before the school year started. Although there were no dance teachers, all of the attendants were complete professionals. It gave me extra motivation to learn how to master all Latin Dance Styles.

Until Next Week, have an AWESOME Weekend!

P.S. Try not to toss and turn thinking about the beginning of your Spring Semester

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