During the course of the 30-semester unit program, HEAL students delve into curricula that examines policies, practices, theories, and current issues related to the postsecondary education pipeline. HEAL prepares emerging leaders for professional roles in academic affairs, making Sade a perfect representation of the program’s mission. Sade is a first-generation, system-impacted, low-income student-parent, who is also a wife and mother to two young children. She previously earned her B.A. in African American Studies with an emphasis on African American/Black Culture, Histories, and Society with a Minor in Mathematics from the University of California, Davis.
Sade’s passion for higher education stemmed from her transition to parenthood while still being enrolled in college. She experienced many of the injustices the system perpetuates toward parenting students, an experience which caused her to courageously advocate for policies and practices rooted in justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion, leading to her current work as a graduate assistant for Project HOPE, a case management service that addresses the basic needs of Fresno State’s student population. Sade has also collaborated with the Michelson 20MM Foundation, serving on their Spark Basic Needs Grant Committee. The foundation is dedicated to supporting and investing in higher learning initiatives that seek to transform the lives of underrepresented students.
Sade aspires to continue working in higher education, advocating for students who are underrepresented or who have been impacted by the system. She is especially passionate about helping student-parents, students of color, first-generation students, and those classified as low-income. Sade has a strong belief that everyone is entitled to an education, no matter what their circumstances.
(Written by Audra Burwell, a Creative Writing student employed by the Kremen School of Education and Human Development )
Lucero Mendoza, an intern who worked with Kremen’s Center for Advising and Student Services, is now pursuing her master’s degree in Student Affairs and College Counseling. She is projected to graduate by Spring 2023, after which, she plans to become an academic counselor in higher education. The knowledge and life skills she gained through her internship prompted her to continue reaching for her dreams, instilling her with a sense of purpose and renewed confidence.
Unfortunately, Mendoza did not have a smooth transition to college. Being a first-generation college student, she was not equipped to navigate the intimidating environment of higher education. Because of this, she decided early on that she wanted to use her future degree to help assist other first-generation college students facing the same predicament. Throughout her first year of college, Mendoza was part of a support program called “College Assistance Migrant Program” (CAMP). CAMP not only provided her with valuable resources but also introduced her to the Student Affairs College Counseling program. She began seeking assistance from peer mentors within the program. This motivated her to become a support system for other students who may also be struggling or simply need someone to talk to.
Mendoza’s internship at Kremen has helped prepare her for a future position in higher education by showing her the foundational principles of college counseling. Over the course of the last year, she has developed a new outlook regarding academic advising.
“I now understand how important it is to build a rapport with students, learning how to put oneself in their shoes. This has allowed me to take into consideration the fact that students have other responsibilities outside of their academic life, and because of this, counselors must approach each student with kindness and an open mind.”
Mendoza has also learned the importance of networking with other professionals. Throughout her internship, she has taken part in theTeacher Recruitment Fair and has also joined the Campus Advisors Network, where she was able to learn how other advising centers operated across campus, including any new changes that were happening. Mendoza also had the opportunity to connect with the Liberal Studies Dean, as well as other counseling members from their department. These opportunities have given her the chance to get to know other professionals in her field and learn more about their unique journeys to higher education.
Working with the Center for Advising and Student Services has allowed Mendoza to gain a vast array of technical experience. Through them, she mastered how to navigate PeopleSoft, Bulldog Connect, and Zoom. Some of the other skills she has acquired include building effective communication pathways amongst students, discovering how to motivate individuals, and learning how to become an approachable person. Mendoza quickly realized the importance of having good listening skills and now strives to be as attentive to students as possible. She wants to make sure her students feel understood and validated when coming in for a session. Through Kremen, she has been taught the importance of working as a collaborative team while also building healthy relationships with both her coworkers and students.
One of the techniques Mendoza has adopted is being flexible with her student’s availability, especially with 98% of student meetings now occurring via Zoom. At times, students may prefer having a phone call or do not feel comfortable meeting face-to-face. Other times, they are only available in the late evenings or after school hours. To Mendoza, it is extremely important to meet students halfway and remind them that she is there to support them in any way she can. Through working with the advisors at Kremen, she has learned many different techniques on how to approach students. One of her biggest takeaways is remembering to always check in with her students and conduct a follow-up after their appointment.
Organization is another crucial skill that Mendoza picked up during her internship with the counseling center. She began to utilize platforms such as Google Calendar to help itemize priorities and to keep herself from over-booking.
“Juggling school, work, and an internship can quickly become overwhelming, but having a calendar helped me to stay accountable and on track. I also used it to remind myself to take self-care days, allowing my mind to naturally reset during stressful semesters.”
Mendoza loves sharing this tool with her students, knowing that it will help them exert more responsibility over their academic lives.
For Mendoza, the Center for Advising and Student Services will always be an environment filled with positivity and encouragement. The staff members provided her with tremendous support and guidance throughout her first year as an advisor intern. One of the most poignant memories Mendoza made during her internship was when Kremen hosted a Christmas potluck. It was her first-time meeting everyone in person since joining the department. She was amazed at how well everyone got along, something that made her feel included immediately.
Being with Kremen has made Mendoza realize that she wants to secure a job that makes her feel welcome and understood, a place where everyone works as a team and shares the same goal of supplying the best possible service for students.
(Written by Audra Burwell, a Creative Writing Student Employed by The Kremen School of Education and Human Development)
Hannah will be receiving the American Rehabilitation Counseling Association’s Masters Student of the Year Award. This award recognizes graduate level students for their achievements, commitments, and contributions to the rehabilitation counseling field. Hannah feels incredibly honored that she was considered for a nomination by her advisor and program coordinator, Dr. Castillo. She says that she would have never expected an opportunity or achievement such as this to fall into her lap. She is incredibly proud of herself for earning this achievement, and making it to this monumental stage in life.
Hannah would like to give a huge thank you to her advisor and program coordinator, Dr. Castillo, for suggesting this award. She has continually provided Hannah with opportunities to further her professional development and has been one of Hannah’s biggest supporters during her time in the program. Hannah would also like to thank some of her best friends who are also enrolled in the program, Yvette, Christina, and Sabrina. She explains how they have supported her through this journey by believing in her when she began to doubt herself and encouraging her to reach her goals. Lastly, Hannah would like to thank her family for their unconditional and constant support. Receiving this award feels incredibly unreal, Hannah states, something that only pushes her further toward success in her chosen field. This award is the most prolific achievement she has made thus far in her academic career. She is proud that all of the hard work she has put into herself and her future is finally paying off.
Hannah will be graduating in the Spring of 2023 with her Masters of Science in Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling. After graduation, she plans on earning her certification as a rehabilitation counselor as well as beginning the process of accruing hours towards licensure as a professional clinical counselor. She plans to continue working with college students with disabilities and mental health disparities. She is extremely passionate about working in this field and wants to continue advocating for and supporting these individuals along their journey.
(Written by Audra Burwell, a Creative Writing Student, Employed by The Kremen School of Education and Human Development)