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Maylene Laguna

North Carolina | Registered Nurse

I grew up in Hudson County, NJ raised by Cuban immigrants. I’ve got a loud, boisterous family, and that’s how I like it. I worked hard. Harder than most kids had to because I struggled with ADHD. It paid off and I graduated third in my class in high school, received the Edward J. Bloustein Award, and earned a full-tuition merit scholarship to Montclair State University. This meant a lot to me. To this day, people ask me if I got a free education because I was a minority and it still gives me tremendous satisfaction to say I earned it on my own. Since graduating college in 2005, I completed a degree in nursing on a half scholarship. I’ve studied and practiced yoga and meditation, and I am presently pursuing my Masters in Nursing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill while trying to get the hang of being a new mom. Being a mother is the most fulfilling job I’ve ever had!

What have been your struggles as a Latina?

When I graduated college and joined the workforce, it was hard to get my peers to take me seriously because I was a young woman.

What does Latina Made mean to you?

It’s being home made and home grown. It’s my mother and her mother. I think it’s a piece of a patchwork quilt- a part of a whole, and knowing I’m part of a bigger picture. I like that.

What made you who you are today?

Struggle. If everything came easy to me, then I wouldn’t have developed the tenacity that I have today. My hustle is strong!

What advice would you give to young Latinas in our community?


Know that being who you are and where you are right now is all that matters. Developing yourself first and foremost as a human being is the most valuable work you will do in this life. It is when we are our best selves that we can in turn give to the world and change it for the better. You matter more than you know.

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