B.A. Psychology from Hunter College, New York
M.S.W. Specialization in Student-Community Development from Stony Brook University, New York
1. How did you decide to attend your college/university?
I was very selective in choosing a college and academic program. I researched the reputation of each institution that I was interested in and visited the campuses. I also knew that I wanted my undergraduate experience to be in New York City. Hunter College was a match!
In deciding where to apply for my graduate degree, I selected Stony Brook University because it was the only program in the U.S. that offered a M.S.W. with a specialization in higher education. I knew through my undergraduate internship experiences that I wanted to work with college students.
2. How did you afford college/university?
Unfortunately my family was unable to afford to send me to college, so my mother accepted a position at a private university that offered a tuition remission program for dependents. I attended New York Institute of Technology as an architecture major (very different than my current career) until I met my partner and got married. Shortly after, I transferred to Hunter College, and worked through the rest of my academic career (sometimes even full-time), and took out student loans. During my graduate program, I applied for a number of scholarships to offset the cost. I was awarded the National Association of Puerto Rican Social Workers scholarship and the Stony Brook University Dean’s Choice Scholarship.
3. What was unique about the college/university you attended?
What was unique and enriched my learning experiences at both Hunter College and Stony Brook University, was the diversity of the student body and faculty. I believe diversity on college campuses cultivates critical thinking, promotes respect of different perspectives, and enhances self-awareness.
4. Did you have any experiences transferring?
Transferring to Hunter College changed my life. I was immersed in culture, met like-minded students, and was fortunate to identify counselors and mentors that helped me recognize my strengths. Unfortunately though, all of my credits from New York Institute of Technology did not transfer over to Hunter College. I would recommend that anyone considering transferring first meet with a counselor to get a sense of what credits are transferrable.
5. What kinds of jobs did you get after graduation?
After graduation I was recruited by Hawai‘i Pacific University to work as a Program Development Specialist within their Residence Life and Commuter Services Department, and then advanced to Assistant Dean of Students & Deputy Title IX Coordinator. After living on Oahu for about 4 years, my partner and I decided to return to the mainland, where I took a position at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo as Assistant Dean of Students for Title IX Outreach, Support & Investigations.
6. How did you discover you current position?
My partner and I fell in love with Sonoma County after visiting to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary. Once the position was advertised online, a few of my colleagues sent me the posting because they knew how much I loved NorCal, and it fit with my professional experience and interests.
7. What do you love about your field?
In my current role, I assist the Vice President of Human Resources & Title IX Coordinator with compliance efforts, including providing trainings, awareness programs and outreach to students and employees related to sexual harassment and sexual misconduct. I am passionate about what I do in promoting equity, diversity and inclusion on a college campus. I l also love having the opportunity to work with students and colleagues from all walks of life.
8. Do you have any tips for transfer-bound students?
In addition to connecting with a counselor to help you map out your academic plan, seek out student organizations and professional organizations that meet your personal and academic interests. Not only will you find lifelong friends and mentors, but you will also find your sense of community, build networks and develop leadership skills that you generally wouldn’t be able to in a classroom setting.