When I immigrated to this country two of my goals were to learn English and to obtain a college degree. However, as a transfer student at UCSD, I discovered that my course work, research experiences, and interactions with faculty led me to consider graduate school, and eventually to the decision of obtaining a Ph.D. in neurosciences.
While completing my doctoral program, I became interested in a career in student services as a feasible and rewarding choice. As a Hispanic woman, I have always been committed to increasing the number of underrepresented students in postsecondary education. I am also particularly interested in the advancement of women in science. As a graduate student, I participated in many activities that addressed these issues, and I knew deep in my heart that I wanted to "give back." I am delighted to hold the position of CAMP Coordinator because it will enable me to interact with students, faculty, and administrators in ways that contribute to the recruitment and retention of underrepresented students in the sciences.
Considering my own educational path, I can see now that several convictions and actions tremendously influenced my academic achievements. First, having an educational goal/dream proved to be necessary to keep me going on a road that was challenging, but very rewarding. Second, being resourceful and taking advantage of what my schools had to offer (e.g., professors’ and teaching assistants’ office hours, tutoring, study groups, scholarships and fellowships, research opportunities, etc.) were invaluable in the achievement of my educational goals. Third, understanding that my experiences and my path were different from those of the student sitting next to me allowed me to keep focused on my own progress without getting distracted by what others were doing. Fourth, by surrounding myself with supportive people, especially in situations that were unsupportive, I was able to draw strength from them and from within and keep believing in myself and my academic potential.
As UCSD’s CAMP Coordinator, I will continue the administration of excellent services that CAMP already offers its students, keeping in mind the importance of reaching out to transfer students and developing services that would be beneficial to them as they adjust to a four-year institution.
I also envision increasing CAMP’s role as a program that encourages and fosters networking among its members (past and present). One way I intend to achieve this goal is to create a web-based database that contains, among other things, information on students, their successes, their current positions, their faculty mentors, etc. This readily accessible database would allow CAMP students to "connect" and support one another in the achievement of their goals.
In addition, I plan to further my own scholarly work as it fits with the regular duties of the position. This will allow me to continue my interest in neuroscience and to mentor students in a research setting. Furthermore, I plan aggressively to advertise the CAMP Science Program at UCSD and to build alliances with different academic units and departments. I believe it is extremely important for people who support CAMP to be informed of the program’s success rate. Students can have a great impact on the future of CAMP by sharing their stories with those who have supported and guided them.
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