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In a special issue of Smithsonian Magazine they dedicated their entire Fall 2007 issue to 37 young innovators under 36 including Ms. Del Valle Class of 2000.

At 5-foot-1 and 110 pounds, Mayda del Valle may be petite, but she has the stage presence of a gargantua. At a recent music, dance and spoken-word event called “Race, Rap and Redemption,” the 28-year-old poet commands the University of Southern California’s Bovard Auditorium with her thunderous voice and agile moves. Clad in a denim miniskirt and black knee-high boots, Del Valle gyrates and gestures, infusing her cadences with Broadway charisma. This is her bully pulpit.

“Spanglish slips off my lips,” she spits in “Tongue Tactics,” a poem about her Puerto Rican-flavored speech.

Her mother, Carmen, the “mambo-making mami” herself, is actually a 63-year-old homemaker, and her father, Alejandro, 68, is a retired forklift operator. Several family members are police officers. Del Valle was the first girl on her father’s side to go to college–“and there are 13 brothers and sisters on my father’s side!” She earned a degree in studio art in 2000 from Williams College in Massachusetts, where she says she struggled against an atmosphere of privilege. “I had heard about rich people, but I didn’t really know what it was about until I saw it,” she says. “I saw kids with no financial aid, whose parents paid for their entire educations out of pocket. Their parents went to Williams. And their grandparents went there too.”

The comment on Williams appears “mixed” but she still seems to be a very interesting and creative person.

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