BATON ROUGE, LA (BRPROUOD) – September 15 to October 15 is Hispanic Heritage Month, and in this week’s Louisiana Women Carly Laing sits down with our very own Ashley Ruiz to find out how her Latina roots and passion for forecasting helped her become the only female Chief Meteorologist in the Capital City.

At just five years old, Ashley Ruiz set her sights to the sky.

“I watched local meteorologists in New Orleans and I was always glued to the TV. I always told my mom I want to do that one day,” said Ruiz.

It wasn’t until August 29, 2005, when she realized the importance of that dream.

“Hurricane Katrina really shaped who I am today. I was 13 and even then I knew a cat 5 hurricane coming straight for Louisiana was a big deal. I wanted to help my family and I wanted to help other people, so that really sealed the deal in becoming a meteorologist one day,” said Ruiz.

She keeps that lesson close to her heart today.

“Valuables can be replaced and thankfully I did not lose my dad, my brother or any other family member, but I know a lot of people, even close to me, did. So I knew if I could make a difference in the world of meteorology one day, that was what my plan was going to be,” said Ruiz.

Her respect for the job carried her through college when she got a taste of just how influential she really is.

“You get into college and yes, it is very discouraging to be a female, a minority, but use it to your advantage and remember where you came from,” said Ruiz.

She kept climbing the ladder, becoming the only female Chief Meteorologist in Baton Rouge and one of the few Latina Chiefs in the country.

“I didn’t see many people that looked like me on TV. But my parents always instilled in my head you can do anything,” said Ruiz.

A reminder that no matter the storms ahead, you too, can shine.

Ashley is proud of her Latin heritage. She said, “Being Latina – You’re loud, you’re proud of where you come from, your culture, and your family. You use that passion, that fiery passion that we have, to do what we want to do and follow our dreams. A lot of my family, my ancestors, including my dad, were not able to achieve their dreams in Cuba. I know I owe this to my ancestors, as well – my grandparents and great grandparents. I know I was given the drive, the motivation, the intelligence, and the love to help people. I know my ancestors would be proud.”