Where are you originally from/where do you call home?
I’m originally from El Paso, Texas – I call home El Paso, Texas. But I’ve been everywhere. I’ve been in all time zones, actually. That’s a fun fact that I always tell my students.
Where did you receive your education?
I received my Bachelors of Science and Agriculture at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri. So I was in the Midwest for my undergrad, and then I received my Masters from here at Western in environmental education.
What does your past work experience look like?
My past job title was Program Coordinator for the Multicultural Affairs Center at Truman State University, but as you know, nothing ever goes with your job title. So within my job I also was in charge of a summer program that was done through our office, where we brought in about 20-30 students for two weeks in August and helped them transition from high school into college. So it was a summer bridge type program. As the coordinator, I was also the advisor for students who came in through the program. I kept being their advisor for all the time they were at Truman or all the time that I stayed at Truman.I had first, second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth year students. I had about 100 students I was advising as a part of that program. Now, since I was working with the Multicultural Affairs Center, we were one of two offices that were doing diversity work on campus. Students who identified wanted to come into our office for advising. So there were about an additional 50 students that I would advise. My case load was about 150 students. Not necessarily every week, it was more of a drop-in type of deal.
On top of that, I oversaw a portion of a grant that we had in our office and was the advisor for one of the international clubs.
On top of that, I was the advisor of 13 student clubs on campus. We had the Greek system there, so I was advising about 4 fraternities, sororities and PHC for the historically black fraternities and sororities, and there’s 9 of those.
On top of that, I was the go-to person leading the study hall, the tutoring efforts and tutoring center itself. I was one of two people in charge of the hiring, the training, the tutors, and putting all of that together. I was also the one in charge of doing the study hall within our own building.
I was involved with a lot of other committees on campus and was the go-to person for international students. By that I mean I was the person that students felt comfortable going to, so I made myself available to them. We had an international house on our campus and I would go in there and just make myself available. Either they would ask questions or I would just get to know them and hangout.
And on top of that I was required to attend student events. We had about 2 to 3 every week and weekend. I had to attend all of them as part of my job in showing support for the students. And that was the fun part. I got in for free to the dinners, I got in for free to all of the events, I was able to help the students go from planning to product.
The other part of my job was to be one of two people in our office helping others understand diversity issues that were going on on-campus. So part of that was developing programs for campus and being the one leading them, executing them, and finding the resources and the funding to do this. We had dinners that were hosted by our office on Sundays, and we celebrated something every month with about 200 students that would attend.
That’s pretty much what my job role was being a Program Coordinator. It turned out to be more of everything else. And I was the person in charge of over 50 student workers. So approving time sheets and all of that. My work day usually went from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. every single day, but it was a different kind of job. It was a job that I personally really, really enjoyed. And it felt less like work and more like I was doing something for the students. In that role, I was able to actually see the impact that I had with the students, whether that was short-term or long-term. I was a student there so I knew how the system worked. I knew everyone on campus so I knew who to go to, shortcuts that I can take, and so on and so forth. So my job was more of a director and coordinator rather than just a coordinator.
Why Western Washington University?
That's a good question! I think when I came here as a grad student I saw what Western was, who Western was, and what they did from a student lens, which is very different from a staff lens. I saw, in a sense, what SOS was doing though my job as a work study student here on campus. I just saw the impact that SOS was having, and at the time Fabiola was here, so I saw what Fabiola was doing. And I was like OK, maybe one day I would want to do that. So before I graduated I actually told myself, "One day I will be back and applying for the job." So that’s how I knew about Western, and specifically how I ended up in this role.
What are your hobbies/what do you like to do in your free time?
Believe it or not, for me, hobbies means volunteering. Currently I volunteer at the Hope House. I’m one of their shed people which basically means when people bring in their donations, they are put in a big box. My role is to open the box, take out the donations, take them into our shed, sort through them, then bring them in the actual house for the other volunteers to put up. Hope House is a house ran by Catholic Community Services that was transformed into kind of a store for the homeless and families in financial need to go in and get support services. They offer monetary support or you can go and get donations like clothing, food, baby items, or even decorations for your home for the holidays.
There's an additional volunteer service that I’m doing, serving as part of a board for the Skagit Immigrant Rights Council. And I just started there last week so I don’t know what my role is! So that’s all I can tell you for now. And as for my other hobbies…usually you can find me walking around Boulevard Park or Fairhaven as my exercise. Also, advising the Blue Group. That’s also part of my hobby; I like doing that. And free time? Who has free time? I don’t think anyone has free time these days.
Something unique about you
There are a lot of things that are unique about me. For starters, I do like to volunteer. I haven’t met anyone else yet that likes to volunteer during their free time or as their hobby, so if you know of someone please connect them with me!
I have a twin brother. That’s something unique about me. We both went to the same undergrad but we didn’t go to the same graduate schools. That was for a purpose - to get our own identities.
I also like to decorate my office so if you come to visit me in SOS please stop by - I have snacks! I also like to provide snacks for students and I have been providing snacks for them for the past 2 years. It’s not something I just started in SOS but something that my first supervisor really, really ingrained in me: that in order to be welcoming, in order to get the students to feel comfortable and like they belong here, we have to be able to offer them some sort of food. Because food works with everyone and is in everyone’s culture.
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