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Click play to hear more of Karissa's story


My name is Karissa Rodriguez.  I was born in Stevens Point, Wisconsin and I grew up in Texas. In 2009, my mom found out about this place and I was like Iowa, “Oh, where’s Iowa? What is that place? Is that a different country? What language do they speak there?”

In high school, when I became a freshman, I started talking about starting a group for a young Latina women. It was very scary to start it because there were barriers that we had to get past. I thought, who’s going to take me seriously because I’m a freshman. I wanted to start this group so that people who come to Iowa, don’t get scared like I did. We want everyone to feel welcome, and we want everyone to share their ideas.

I want to have a wide range of friends. I like to meet new people all the time. I like drawing or playing my ukulele. I like music and I like the arts. All the arts really.