Scholar Stories: Jenice Fernández Popinski

How do you use writing or art in your life?

I use writing in my life as a reflection to reading beautiful, powerful quotes. They help me create my own stories and thoughts. They empower me to be and do better. As a teacher, I use both art and writing with my students through personal journals and daily writing assignments/projects. I love to be able to visualize their experiences through their writing and drawings. I find that students feel more comfortable writing when they draw their picture first. It helps them organize their thoughts and pay really close attention to detail. Their pieces really come to life to show who they are and it adds to their experiences. Their faces light up when they share their stories. They feel empowered and know that their stories matter.

What lessons/teachings from your family, home and/or community do you draw on in your teaching and/or scholarship?

My tata singing his traditional Mexican songs and his storytelling that to this day I still hear and picture in my mind. My Nana’s rich recipes that continue to be shared throughout generations. My Mamá, an independent, hardworking mujer, and my biggest fan. My amigas throughout the different stages in my life have shaped my life with their rich stories and experiences. My hijos and my esposo who everyday teach me to be a better person, and always dream big. My estudiantes and their familias that empower me to be a better teacher and grow through their stories. Their experiences have helped me embrace my culture and be proud of it! 

What would you tell your younger self?

I would tell my younger self to be confident and never give up!  Always follow my dreams regardless of what people say.  Always be true to myself and don’t underestimate my ability or intelligence.  Always have high standards in everything I do!

Advice for new scholars and/or teachers.

Follow your dreams and don’t let anyone stop you. There’s always a way and Si Se Puede! Never forget where you came, and be proud.  Help others along the way by sharing your story and your success.

Something else you want to share?

Empower women! ¡Échale ganas a todo! Dream Big!

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