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Jennifer Rueda

Hometown: Lompoc, California
Major: Health Science
Graduation Date: Spring, 2018
Career Plans: Health Education

I went to high school in the small town of Lompoc, the valley of the flowers! I knew from an early start that I wanted to go to college; my family always said that education is the key to a better future and more job opportunities. They didn’t want me to go through the struggles they faced like stretching money to pay for bills, food, and basic needs. Although, I had the desire to go to college I knew my parents would be unable to help me financially, but their constant encouragement motivated me to figure it out.

During my junior year in high school, I began to do more research about how to get to college. I was fortunate to have counselors, mentors, and teachers that impacted my life in high school and showed how to purse a higher education. I had one specific teacher during high school that had a strong influence on my life, who became an advisor on my journey to college. I was confused, overwhelmed, and stressed at times and I couldn’t just ask my parents for help because they simply didn’t know the system. Yet they provided me with emotional support, encouragement, and they attended school events to learn about higher education.

I applied to many schools and got into most of them but I eventually decided on attending California State University, Channel Islands (CI) because it wasn’t too far from home but it was far enough that I needed to live on campus. I instantly fell in love with the natural environment and the culture of the campus. It is such a small campus compared to the other CSUs; we are able to have small class and more one on one time with our professors.

Currently, I am in my 4th year at CI with a major in Health Science. I am exploring possible careers but I am interested in public health and health education. I want to educate underserved, low-income communities about the importance of living a healthy lifestyle.

I am working for University Culture because I believe in its mission of creating a college-going culture in Ventura County. The process of getting to college can be a difficult journey if you are on your own which is why University Culture Ambassadors are here to help make your life a little easier! We provide valuable information including college options, how to apply for financial aid, and we answer your questions about higher education. We speak to students, parents, and community members. I love that my job allows me to help students on their journey to a higher education. I want to be a resource for students and families making the complex process not so over-whelming.