“Being a DACA student has given me a voice, which I have chosen to use to empower these kids—to help them overcome these adverse challenges as I tell them my story. Together, we create a plan that will lead them to a successful future where only they can write the ending, all while embracing their diversity and intersectionality.“
Tell us about your personal and professional background.
I currently work at a high school as the College and Career Center facilitator. Alongside the counselors, I help students decide on and work toward a postsecondary path that best fits them. It breaks my heart when students come to me and tell me that they are not going to pursue a higher education because they are undocumented, have to work to support their families, have to care for younger siblings, among many other things. Being a DACA student has given me a voice, which I have chosen to use to empower these kids—to help them overcome these adverse challenges as I tell them my story. Together, we create a plan that will lead them to a successful future where only they can write the ending, all while embracing their diversity and intersectionality. Working with an underrepresented population has been my favorite part of my job. I have seen growth in students who have gone from thinking all odds are against them to being powerful young men and women who value learning and will persevere to reach their goals without putting their cultural values aside.
Why did you choose to pursue a Master of Arts in school counseling?
I chose to pursue a master’s in school counseling to serve as an advocate and resource for underrepresented students. Growing up, I felt like there wasn’t anyone in my schools who looked like me, who I could trust and confide in, so I want to change that for minority students. Being an undocumented Latina student, I was in need of much support—but like many students, I was too shy and afraid of being shamed for needing help. My goal is to equip students and families with the tools necessary to become advocates for themselves and their needs while meeting the families where they are and working toward an attainable goal, rather than setting unrealistic general expectations. I plan to apply the knowledge and skills obtained through a master’s in school counseling to focus on student success and create motivated, supported and ready-to-learn individuals through collaborative decision-making.
How has this program prepared you for success as a school counselor and agent of change in your community?
This program has equipped me with valuable knowledge and skills. Not only have I gained a theoretical perspective to counseling but skills that can be used outside of the counseling session. These skills have allowed me to have better, richer conversations with community stakeholders, families and students.
What has your experience interacting with faculty been like during your time in the program?
My experience with faculty in the program has been wonderful. They are some of the most genuine, caring individuals I have worked with. They are experienced in the field and have so much insight and knowledge to share.
How have you benefited from earning your degree using SchoolCounseling@Denver’s innovative online platform?
Its versatility has given me the opportunity to continue working two jobs while going to school—which would not be possible in a traditional setting.
What is one thing you want a prospective SchoolCounseling@Denver student to know?
I would tell a prospective student to enjoy their time in the program! Faculty is amazing; the content is rich and applicable. I am sure this program will prepare future counselors to be their best self!