A young, Latinx mom wanted to change the way we think about mental health. Grad school made it possible.
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When Adriana Alejandre became pregnant at 19, she understood her life would drastically change. A sophomore at UC Santa Barbara, Alejandre wanted nothing more than to complete her education, but she knew it would be difficult (if not impossible) as a young single mom.

"It was hard because I thought that was the end," says Gladis Caal, Alejandre's mother. "I thought she would not be able to study again, because that is what happened to me." While her mom was concerned about Alejandre's future, others were much less kind. "I was actually told by others that I would become another Latina dropout statistic," Alejandre remembers.

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Those harsh words were meant to dismiss Alejandre and put her down, but they had the opposite effect, fueling her to continue pursuing her education. She needed to show the world that she didn't have to make a choice between being a mom or a student — she could do both.

Alejandre was taking a psychology course at the time she learned she was pregnant. It inspired her to see a therapist to talk about all of the changes she was experiencing. As a Latinx woman, going to therapy broke cultural norms. "Mental health isn't really talked about in my culture. We're expected to just get better on our own automatically," she says. But it also made it clear to her that those norms needed to change. Those changes, Alejandre decided, would begin with her. She'd finish up her degree, go on to graduate school, and then work to transform the conversation around mental health in the Latinx community, all while being the best mom in the world.


The decision to attend graduate school was an important one. Alejandre was certain she wanted to go on to complete a master's degree and she knew that the benefits — greater earning power, more employment opportunities, and increased confidence, to name a few — would help her gain the expertise and create the professional network she needed to succeed in her chosen career .

Like Alejandre, many know that applying to graduate school is a commitment. It involves asking questions about one's career path, researching schools, and creating a strong application packet that sets you apart from others. It also often requires taking the GRE General Test, an admissions test that allows applicants to show schools they possess the critical thinking skills needed for today's demanding graduate-level programs.

For Alejandre, preparing to take the GRE General Test meant studying wherever and whenever she could find time. "I got the prep book. I was studying every single day so that I could go into it prepared," she says.

All that preparation paid off. Alejandre gained entry into the prestigious Graduate School of Education and Psychology at Pepperdine University, graduated, earned her Marriage and Family Therapist license, and opened up a private practice. Within a year, she'd also launched Latinx Therapy, a popular podcast that breaks stigmas, busts myths, and answers questions about mental health specifically as it relates to the Latinx community. She's also built a strong community of other Latinx therapists with whom she can share wisdom and strength.

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Alejandre can't help but think how much her life has changed since she was an undergraduate. "Looking back to that 19-year-old girl, I've come really, really far...it's been a beautiful journey even though it's been so hard, but it's been worth it."

To hear more about Alejandre's story, check out this video.

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In 1945, the world had just endured the bloodiest war in history. World leaders were determined to not repeat the mistakes of the past. They wanted to build a better future, one free from the "scourge of war" so they signed the UN Charter — creating a global organization of nations that could deter and repel aggressors, mediate conflicts and broker armistices, and ensure collective progress.

Over the following 75 years, the UN played an essential role in preventing, mitigating or resolving conflicts all over the world. It faced new challenges and new threats — including the spread of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, a Cold War and brutal civil wars, transnational terrorism and genocides. Today, the UN faces new tensions: shifting and more hostile geopolitics, digital weaponization, a global pandemic, and more.

This slideshow shows how the UN has worked to build peace and security around the world:

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Malians wait in line at a free clinic run by the UN Multidimensional Integrated Mission in Mali in 2014. Over their 75 year history, UN peacekeepers have deployed around the world in military and nonmilitary roles as they work towards human security and peace. Here's a look back at their history.

Photo credit: UN Photo/Marco Dormino

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Artist Tom Ward has used his incredible illustration techniques to give us some new perspective on modern life through popular Disney characters. "Disney characters are so iconic that I thought transporting them to our modern world could help us see it through new eyes," he told The Metro.

Tom says he wanted to bring to life "the times we live in and communicate topical issues in a relatable way."

In Ward's "Alt Disney" series, Prince Charming and Pinocchio have fallen victim to smart phone addiction. Ariel is living in a polluted ocean, and Simba and Baloo have been abused by humans.

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Between the new normal that is working from home and e-learning for students of all ages, having functional electronic devices is extremely important. But that doesn't mean needing to run out and buy the latest and greatest model. In fact, this cycle of constantly upgrading our devices to keep up with the newest technology is an incredibly dangerous habit.

The amount of e-waste we produce each year is growing at an increasing rate, and the improper treatment and disposal of this waste is harmful to both human health and the planet.

So what's the solution? While no one expects you to stop purchasing new phones, laptops, and other devices, what you can do is consider where you're purchasing them from and how often in order to help improve the planet for future generations.

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With many schools going virtual, many daycare facilities being closed or limited, and millions of parents working from home during the pandemic, the balance working moms have always struggled to achieve has become even more challenging in 2020. Though there are more women in the workforce than ever, women still take on the lion's share of household and childcare duties. Moms also tend to bear the mental load of keeping track of all the little details that keep family life running smoothly, from noticing when kids are outgrowing their clothing to keeping track of doctor and dentist appointments to organizing kids' extracurricular activities.

It's a lot. And it's a lot more now that we're also dealing with the daily existential dread of a global pandemic, social unrest, political upheaval, and increasingly intense natural disasters.

That's why scientist Gretchen Goldman's refreshingly honest photo showing where and how she conducted a CNN interview is resonating with so many.

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Schools often have to walk a fine line when it comes to parental complaints. Diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and preferences for what kids see and hear will always mean that schools can't please everyone all the time, so educators have to discern what's best for the whole, broad spectrum of kids in their care.

Sometimes, what's best is hard to discern. Sometimes it's absolutely not.

Such was the case this week when a parent at a St. Louis elementary school complained in a Facebook group about a book that was read to her 7-year-old. The parent wrote:

"Anyone else check out the read a loud book on Canvas for 2nd grade today? Ron's Big Mission was the book that was read out loud to my 7 year old. I caught this after she watched it bc I was working with my 3rd grader. I have called my daughters school. Parents, we have to preview what we are letting the kids see on there."

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