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When Alondra Palomino was a kid, she wanted so badly to go to college. But she just didn’t know if it was possible.

"I have a somewhat complex family dynamic," Palomino explains in an email. She grew up in Colorado, raised by her godparents — first in Denver, where she lived in a neighborhood that spoke only Spanish, and then in Thornton.

"Thornton was a huge culture shock to me. I began to realize what it truly meant to be considered a minority," she writes.


Alondra (left) facilitating a workshop. Image provided by Alondra Palomino, used with permission.

Palomino's mother immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico "in search of a better life," after having to quit school in seventh grade to work. Both she and Palomino's godparents stressed the importance of a college education, but none of them had any experience navigating the application process.

By the time Palomino reached high school, she knew she'd give anything to go to college. "I needed to be the role model for my younger sister and brother," she notes. "They needed to know that if I could do it, they could too."

She just had no idea how to get there.

Unfortunately, Palomino's story is not uncommon.

A 2014 study found that just 15% of Hispanic young adults (aged 25-29) held a bachelor's degree — a number that lags far behind other demographic groups. Cost, unfamiliarity with the process, and needing to help support family are just a few barriers that first-generation college students face.

Image via iStock.

Luckily, Palomino's high school in Thornton offered a rigorous academic program that was able to guide her through the college application process. She successfully applied to the University of Colorado at Boulder, received scholarships, and started school in 2014.

Now a junior in college, Palomino's determined to give other first-generation college students the same opportunities she had.

One of the scholarships Palomino received, the Puksta Scholarship, requires students to design a civic engagement project. She writes, "I knew that I wanted to work with the undocumented community; I wanted to give back to my family, especially after everything they have done for me."

After reflecting on her own experience applying to college, she decided that simply providing workshops for parents of high school students could make a huge impact in the community. So far, she has facilitated four parent workshops.

"I want parents to know that it is possible [for their kids to attend college]," Palomino writes. "It may be challenging, but it's worth it."

Image via iStock.

The workshops address some common college myths (such as the grades required for acceptance), the differences between community colleges and universities, the common application questions, financial aid, and more.

Palomino likes to end the presentation by asking what parents dream for their kids' futures.She says the stories they share make her "realize how amazing and dedicated they are. They are so invested in their student's future and only want the best for them." The parents, she adds, are always extremely grateful.

Being a first-generation college student is anything but easy. But Palomino is fully committed to helping other students achieve their college dreams. "I truly believe that no matter what your legal status is, everyone should have the right and opportunity to go to college," she explains. "It is possible, si se puede."

Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

True

Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

The mesmerizing lost art of darning knit fabric.

For most of human history, people had to make their own clothing by hand, and sewing skills were subsequently passed down from generation to generation. Because clothing was so time-consuming and labor-intensive to make, people also had to know how to repair clothing items that got torn or damaged in some way.

The invention of sewing and knitting machines changed the way we acquire clothing, and the skills people used to possess have largely gone by the wayside. If we get a hole in a sock nowadays, we toss it and replace it. Most of us have no idea how to darn a sock or fix a hole in any knit fabric. It's far easier for us to replace than to repair.

But there are still some among us who do have the skills to repair clothing in a way that makes it look like the rip, tear or hole never happened, and to watch them do it is mesmerizing.

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Joy

Nurse turns inappropriate things men say in the delivery room into ‘inspirational’ art

"Can you move to the birthing ball so I can sleep in the bed?"

Holly the delivery nurse.

After working six years as a labor and delivery nurse Holly, 30, has heard a lot of inappropriate remarks made by men while their partners are in labor. “Sometimes the moms think it’s funny—and if they think it’s funny, then I’ll laugh with them,” Holly told TODAY Parents. “But if they get upset, I’ll try to be the buffer. I’ll change the subject.”

Some of the comments are so wrong that she did something creative with them by turning them into “inspirational” quotes and setting them to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on TikTok.

“Some partners are hard to live up to!” she jokingly captioned the video.

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