Prior to coming to Northeastern I was finishing my PhD at New York University in New York City. There I studied how Latino adolescents navigated the path to college by accessing mentors. While those with mentors were very successful, most young people did not have mentors and had limited access to information that would help them succeed in college. Many of their families cared deeply about education but simply lacked the background and knowledge about how to navigate the system in the U.S. as many were immigrants, non-English speakers, and had not gone to college themselves. Given that NEIU was in my hometown, and had a diverse student body of first-generation college students, I thought it would be a great way to put the knowledge I had learned through my research into practice by making a real direct impact on students’ lives.
Name a person who changed your life? How did they do it?
My parents changed my life. They are very thoughtful and driven people with a wealth of life experiences. My father is an immigrant from Mexico, a veteran of the Vietnam war, a retiree who has lived a very successful life in the U.S. My mother is my biggest motivator-she grew up poor in Texas and in Chicago and has always seen in me a great potential and pushed me hard not to squander it.
Who or what do you love? Why?
I love my family. Those who came before, those who are with me now and those who came after. My dad has eight brothers and a sister, my mother four brothers and a sister, and I have over twenty-five first cousins. They are all integral to who I am.