EAOP Alumna, UC Santa Cruz & NYU Steinhardt
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF
I was born in Alameda then moved to San Leandro at the age of six and attended schools in the district from elementary to high school. In high school I was a cheerleader for all four years, served in Classboard as Freshman, Sophomore class secretary and Senior class vice president, and participated in spring musicals as Cha-Cha in Grease and Anita in West Side Story. During this time EAOP was a big part of my life -I was part of the program from middle to high school, and I learned a lot about the college admissions process.
After high school I attended the University of California Santa Cruz where I obtained a bachelors degree in Sociology. At UC Santa Cruz I was affiliated with Oakes College and was a student organizer for the Filipino Student Association -where I served as one of the Pagkakaisa Dance Troupe coordinators, Pilipino Cultural Celebration co-chairs, and was a mentor/Ate for the Kuya-Ate Mentorship Program. My undergraduate experience was a time of self-discovery. Initially I came to UCSC as a Biology major, but later found that the major was not for me which prompted my switch to Sociology. I developed an interest for Filipino traditional folk dancing and learning about my roots and social justice. I also developed a passion for access to higher education through my volunteer experience with the A Step Forward, a student-initiated outreach program, where we invited newly-admitted high school seniors to our campus for a weekend.
Immediately following my college graduation I accepted a job as a Team Leader for a corporate company, and later discovered that I was not happy in that environment. During that time I took a leap of faith and messaged my former college advisor for any opportunities with EAOP, and with my luck I was offered a part-time internship position as a College Adviser at San Leandro High School (my alma mater). After my first academic year I became a full-time College Adviser Fellow at SLHS, where I advised students on college and career for the next two years. During the summers of 2013, 2014, and 2015 I was given the opportunity to co-facilitate the Leadership Academy and plan all events for the Pre-College Academy.
Currently I am attending New York University as a graduate student in the School Counseling K-12 program. While in school I am involved in Steinhardt's Graduate Student Organization as one of the event coordinators and the School Counseling Association as a first-year representative. I am on track to graduate in May 2017, and after graduation I hope to return to the Bay Area as a School Counselor and help send more youth to college and career paths.
WHAT DOES GOING TO COLLEGE MEAN TO YOU?
College is worthy investment for yourself -it is an opportunity to discover your passion, learn more about yourself, network, and develop skills. Graduating from college was not only a victory for myself but it was also a victory for my family especially since I come from a first-generation household.
MY GOALS AND DREAMS
If you told me in high school that I would become a school counselor I would have thought that you were out of your mind, but if you told me that I would be working for something that I was passionate about then I would have believed you. With that said, my ultimate career goal is to become an educator who advocates for under-resourced communities (e.g. first-generation, low-income, working class, undocumented populations, etc.). I hope to inspire more youth to further their education, explore new possibilities and opportunities, and challenge the present for a better future.
HOW DID EAOP HELP PREPARE YOU FOR COLLEGE AND CAREER SUCCESS?
In middle school EAOP introduced the word college to my vocabulary. In high school EAOP helped me picture myself in a college environment by giving me the opportunity to step onto a college campus through the Pre-College Academy, SAT Academy, and Concurrent Enrollment program. Throughout high school my knowledge on the college admissions process expanded and I received one-on-one assistance with the college application and personal statement. During this time EAOP taught me to advocate for myself and ask questions. After high school EAOP kept in touch with me and asked me how my progress was going. Several years after my high school graduation EAOP encouraged me to apply for a graduate school that was 2900 miles away from home. In times when I stopped believing in my greatness, EAOP was there to uplift me and helped me see the bigger picture.
Photo taken outside of New York University, Steinhardt Graduate School of Counseling