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Amparo Valdovinos

Hometown: Santa Paula, California
Major: Biology
Graduation Date: May, 2019
Career Plans: Physician Assistant (pediatrics/surgery)

I am the first in my family of six to attend college. I started CSU Channel Islands as a first-time freshman and although I began a four-year university after high school graduation, my road to college was not always straightforward. Throughout my educational pathway language was always a barrier for me and my parents, especially since my parents did not speak or understand the language. This became a barrier because they didn’t understand the information or resources that were given to us about going to college. The highest level of education they received was grade school, thus it made it even more difficult for them to provide us with support. Additionally, I wasn’t surrounded at my home with knowledge about going to college which made it difficult to have a positive role model who guided me about pursuing a higher education. I was however fortunate to be a part of programs in high school which gave me a foundation to learn about college. I was part of the Human Service Academy, which guided me through the process and encouraged us by taking us on field trips visiting nearby colleges and universities, I met counselors and had teachers who believed in me which pushed me and motivated me to go to college and be where I am today. I also had teachers who didn’t believe in me which made me strive harder to get to where I am.

Once I began CI, I had a difficult time adjusting to the coursework and the college culture. There were times I felt that I couldn’t continue and as the first in my family to go to college, the transition was challenging. Thankfully there are programs such as Educational Opportunity Programs (EOP) that support students who are low income and first generation succeed. EOP is my family here at college away from home and has given me the motivation and resources to guide me through the whole process. I am a University Culture mentor because I want to help students reach their potential as well as provide them with the tools/resources to continue their path into higher education.

I have a passion for healthcare, science, and helping out those in need. That is why I chose Biology as my major and plan to apply for a Master’s in a Physician Assistant (PA) program once I graduate with my bachelor’s degree. I love learning about the physiology and anatomy that makes us and keeps us alive. It amazes me how the body works. I want to be a PA because I have the opportunity to interact with and help my patients, especially those in communities like mine that hardly seek out healthcare.

Although my transition to college was challenging, I see education as a privilege because there are many people who are unable to pursue a higher education. Attending college has allowed me to have a different perspective about life and it provides me with a more promising future. I see my efforts as a way of a more secure future rather than living paycheck to paycheck and working long hours. That is not the life I want my parents to continue working and I want to make my parents proud and help them with all that I can possibly do. I also aspire to be a role model to my siblings and future generations. Being a University Culture mentor allows me to be in this role and help others pursue their educational goals.