As a first-generation college student, I take great pride in where I come from, what I’ve been through, and where I’m headed. Navigating college was not easy, and every step of the way there were barriers. I was very fortunate to have had a great support system and lots of mentors back home that made me into the person I am today. The goals I set in high school are completely different from the goals I have now. Experiencing hurdles early on in college helped me realize my true passion for education. When I first read, Paulo Freire’s, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, I derived a profound purpose for education as serving a “cause of liberation” for students. With this transformative approach toward my education, I realized how important it was to take advantage of all the resources available to me so that I could assist my community.
Shortly after my second year, I began to take on different responsibilities at the UC Irvine campus. From serving as President for a Latinx coalition organization to joining a Latino fraternity, all my roles have been focused around community service and promoting educational opportunity. My goals since high school have changed from simply earning a degree to prepare for the workforce to claiming my degree and being proactive where ever I reside.
This summer, I am part of a five-week summer cohort called, Summer Academic Enrichment Program (SAEP) here at UC Irvine. The program focuses on exposing undergraduate students to research and preparing them for graduate school. This upcoming academic year, I will be a Research Assistant for Professor Yenda Giovanatto in School of Education with a focus on language and literacy development in children and adults. I also plan on conducting research surrounding political participation and how age, educational attainment, and religion can effect voter turnout in the Latinx community. In addition, I will be participating in the UCDC program and am in the process of applying for the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics fellowship.
After I graduate, I will be applying to Stanford’s Policy, Organization, and Leadership Service graduate program, as well as to University of San Francisco and San Francisco State University’s Educational Leadership programs.