Hello! My name is Janet Saldana, and I’m a senior biomedical engineering student attending this year’s Alternative Spring Break.

About Me

I grew up in a small town in northern Illinois with my parents and two brothers. While at home I help my mother with the family-owned Zumba Fitness studio with literally anything and everything, from teaching classes to cleaning the bathrooms. To keep up with my passion for dancing, I’ve been on the Sabrosura Latin dancing team since freshman year and it is truly what keeps me sane during stressful times! Also at Duke, I am the co-president of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, which is mainly a networking and fellowship organization that we started up this year. Engineering is what I hope to be doing after graduation, but I have always enjoyed and seen the benefits of exposing myself to new topics that aren’t related to engineering.

Why I Am Interested in ASB

Human trafficking is heavy topic, one in which I first gained interest during my Spanish global health class this year. A representative from the Durham Crisis Response Center came in to speak with our class primarily about domestic violence. At the end of her talk, she planned to simply touch upon human trafficking, but the topic was so new to me and my classmates that we kept asking questions about it. To us, it seemed impossible that something like that would happen in what is comfortably defined as a first world country. We heard of an example that day where people from other countries are brought to this country with the lie of a better life. This can be with the hopes of marriage or guaranteed work, but once here, they are trapped because without legal status, they cannot speak up about their situation. And this doesn’t just apply to small, hidden business. Large corporation benefit from human trafficking too, and consumers, me included, simply don’t look into what their money is ultimately supporting. I believe that with more attention drawn to the issue, these people’s lives could be drastically improved. I am eager to see how our group will navigate this important topic and digest what we learn during the week in San Diego.