Writing Wrongs is a community journalism project in which college students explore various social issues. Last year’s issue, “Untold, Unseen, Unheard: Perspectives on Immigration,” contains interviews with immigrants detailing their lives and goals for the future. This is a summary of a piece Jamison Barker of Shippensburg University originally wrote for the book.
Life in America
Josephina Encarnacion was born in New York City and lived in Washington Heights, Manhattan. Crime and drugs filled the area, and her family lived in poor economic conditions. Her father worked both night and day and her mother made only 60 dollars a month. When Josephina was eight, her family moved back to the Dominican Republic.
Despite being in a new country, Josephina connected with American culture. She watched MTV, kept up with U.S. news, and listened to bands like Nirvana, Poison, and Metallica.
Dedication to Education
Her father owned business and real estate in the D.R. thanks to his entrepreneurial drive, even though he only completed a second-grade education. Her mother regretted not completing her education and pushed that mantra onto Josephina hard. She went to private school, fashion school, and graduated with a degree in marketing at the Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra. Her father paid for her tuition upfront in cash.
After graduation, Josephina had to decide between staying in the D.R., or leaving to the U.S. She felt that she wouldn’t be able to use her education in the D.R. and end up becoming a home-maker, so she went back to America.
Josephina began looking for work in Pennsylvania. She worked at a Tommy Hilfiger outlet before becoming a director of administration at a nonprofit, Community Prevention Partnership. But her life wasn’t so great, as she struggled with depression for years and experienced racism in her daily life. This did not drag her down as she managed to complete two master’s programs and opened a coffee shop and a child-care business.
She later sold these businesses and went on to work at the Small Business Development Center, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, and the city of Reading. Her entrepreneurial spirit carried her through difficult times and has led to her success in helping her community and family. She still works at the Small Business Development Center but is focused on raising her son. Despite this, there are still plenty of projects and business ideas Josephina is working on.
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If you would like to be a student writer, print designer, photographer, videographer, social media manager, or program advisor for the 2018 issue of Writing Wrongs, click below for more information.
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To hear more stories like Josephina’s, buy the full 2017 issue of Writing Wrongs here.