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Capt. Roxzanna Ponce De Leon

Commander, Manpower and Personnel Flight, 49th Force Support Squadron

What is your nationality?
My dad is Columbian and my mother is Cajun.

What type of traditional foods do you like to eat?
Traditionally, I ate sancocho which is a soup with chicken, corn, carrots, cilantro, yucca and plantain. And ceviche, we ate a lot of ceviche.

Who were some of your role models growing up?
My parents and definitely mi abuela, who came to the U.S. when she was in her 50's, which was very courageous. She was a strong, brave woman and still the doña of the house. As an adult, it would be Gen. George Joulwan and Gen. Maxwell Thurman, those were my first two bosses in the Army and they were phenomenal. General Joulwan encouraged me to become an officer and gave me that push I needed.

What are some of the traditions in your culture?
One of the biggest traditions is cooking together in the kitchen. Everybody that could possibly fit in the kitchen would be in there. And it would just get louder and louder because everyone would be in there cooking, talking and laughing.

Do you observe the holidays from your parents country of origin?
We didn't have a Christmas day, we had a Christmas Eve. Everybody had dinner and everybody stayed up till midnight and opened presents. That was the one holiday every year the whole family would get together including five or six other families.

What was it like growing up as a Hispanic?
It was colorful, just a blast. I grew up in New Orleans, La., and it was a close knit South American community. I didn't learn English until the first grade -- we didn't need to. Our doctors were Spanish, our bankers were Spanish and even the babysitters.