The state of Florida has a diverse demographic, with almost a quarter of the population from Hispanic descent. That being said, a concern has been raised regarding the lack of bilingual education offered statewide. Susanne Peña, through her participation with the Steps Program, is working to change this concern. Having reaped the benefits of a bilingual education personally, Peña is aware of all the benefits that comes from dual language programs, especially in places where the Latino community is so eminent.
Peña grew up in a bilingual household in Puerto Rico. Her mother, raised bilingual in The Bronx, New York, saw how imperative it was to know more than one language. As a result, Peña went to a dual language school her entire life; there, she not only mastered both English and Spanish but she was able to even learn French. The school's philosophy was biliteracy, biculturism and bilingualism. Through her personal and educational experience, biliteracy has become a part of who she is, as it is something she has known her entire life.
Peña attended Penn State University with a scholarship; during her time at Penn State, she started to feel a need to represent herself as a Puerto Rican.
Peña saw how imperative it is to not only be proud of your heritage but also embrace bilingualism.
She became remarkably involved throughout campus, especially within the Latino community. Not only did she DJ the only Spanish radio show on the campus, but she also pledged the largest Latina sorority, Sigma Lambda Gamma.
Following her time at Penn State, Peña decided to continue to pursue her education. She moved to New York to attend law school, yet after attending, she realized her passions landed in the education field. Returning to school, Peña earned her first masters in elementary education.
Continue to the next page to learn more about Peña's journey and powerful impact …