What is your role at College Success Arizona?
I am the office assistant, which means that I man the front desk, but I also play supportive roles for all of our different programs. I’ve been helping out with e-mentoring and I’ve been working on some text videos we sent out for that, and I’ve also started a blog.
How did you come to be associated with College Success Arizona?
I moved here from Los Angeles, and was working for a nonprofit in the Phoenix area that focused on education. I was looking at a job board and found my current position posted, and that’s how I came to work for College Success Arizona.
What is the best thing about working with students (or your job)?
The best part for me is knowing that I’m part of a greater end goal here. I think that being part of this organization, that creates a channel for students to purse their dreams, and actually make those become a reality, is something that means a lot to me, and makes me feel like we’re working toward a greater purpose.
Why do you feel increasing Arizona’s College Attainment Rate is so important?
Right now I feel that there are so many barriers for students to be able to reach that goal and to pursue a higher education. I think breaking down those barriers will in fact increase those attainment rates. It’s all about students having and deserving the right to pursue their dreams, and I think by making college more accessible, students are encouraged to pursue the jobs, and goals that they want in life. I believe that that will help the state overall and benefit our economy.
What is your vision for the Arizona of the future?
I would love to see higher education be attainable for anyone who wants to pursue it. Even apart from college – such as trade schools and certificates - I would love to see anyone who wants to pursue anything higher than just high school have that ability, without those barriers.
If you had a message for a student just beginning their college career, what would that be?
Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone. I definitely pushed myself in college and it helped me so much, even now. College is a time when you’re presented with a multitude of life experiences and new things all of the time. Sometimes, it’s easier to take a step back and just stick to what you know, but in the end you’ll learn so much more if you just push yourself. It’ll also help in your own self-discovery, and just gain more confidence in the whole process.
Basic stats (hometown, family, etc.):
I grew up just outside of Hartford, Connecticut and most of my family still lives there. For my undergraduate degree I studied at Stonehill College, which is about a half an hour south of Boston. For graduate school, I attended the University of Massachusetts - Boston, and I graduated with a Master in Business Administration (MBA). For my undergraduate, I had a double-major in Spanish and Religious Studies.
What was your First or most interesting job?
It was at a French bakery and restaurant where most of my coworkers were from France, so it was pretty authentic and fun. I worked in the office as an administrator and I got to see a little bit of everything. During the day it was all French pastries and croissants, and then at night it turned into a pretty pristine restaurant with all kinds of seafood dishes and pasta.
What is your career history?
Right after college I went to Costa Rica for a year to volunteer at a high school. I was working with students there and planning different trips for them. Then when I was in grad school, I was a research assistant for a marketing professor. My most recent job prior to College Success Arizona, was working as a project manager for a digital production company that develops websites for apps.
What are your hobbies/favorite pastime?
I’ve always loved arts and crafts, painting, building things – pretty much anything related to art.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
I have a food that is a guilty pleasure, and that would be ice cream. I love ice cream and probably eat it almost every day.
Do you have a Facebook, Instagram or Twitter (or other!) social media account?
I have Facebook and Instagram.
What is your proudest moment?
The thing I’m most proud about is when I decided to study abroad. I was kind of terrified to do it and I ended up studying abroad in Costa Rica, and knew very little Spanish going into it. It was really terrifying, because I had no idea what I was doing. I had no idea what bus to take or how to talk to the bus driver. So, going through that for a few months really helped me to become resilient and gain confidence. In the end, I learned Spanish and was totally fine, but I think that being immersed in a totally different culture, and being able to succeed there, was a pretty proud moment.