For Immediate Release
June 5, 2017
Monica Vera wasn’t sure what would happen when she came to LCC after graduating from Mark Morris in 2013.
She enrolled in a two-year (non-transfer) program, and pictured herself working with children in the local area.
Three years later, she’s completing her second associate’s degree and planning to attend the University of Washington Seattle in the fall, where she hopes to major in Family Studies and/or Early Childhood Education. Eventually, she hopes to have a career advocating for children and families.
Monica is the first in her Latino family to attend college, which has presented some challenges.
She has had to help her parents understand the time and commitment it takes to earn a college degree. In addition, she’s done some coaching with the whole family on the overall benefits of college.
“It can be hard,” she said, “to help people understand why you aren’t home to help out more.”
She credits Nichole Walker of LCC’s TRiO program, as well as advisor Ann Williamson, for helping her succeed.
“Ann helped me find scholarship and grant funding, and helped me get a job with Head Start as well,” Monica said. “Nichole helped me navigate the transfer process, including applying to universities and filling out financial aid paperwork.”
In addition, Monica participated in three TRiO-sponsored university visits (TRiO serves students who are the first in their family to attend college, are low income, and/or have a disability).
Monica’s success at LCC is making a significant difference in her family.
The oldest of five siblings, Monica has already had one sibling follow her to college. Her sister, who is interested in psychology, is currently working on a transfer degree from LCC. A brother plans to attend after graduating from Mark Morris next year.
Noting that an increasing percentage of children born in the U.S. are Latino, Monica thinks it’s important for children to see people they can relate to in schools and colleges. She advises students thinking about college to take advantage of leadership opportunities in high school, and to make connections whenever possible.
“It’s really important to find a mentor.”
Most of all, she recommends that people assume they belong in college rather than the other way around.
“You’ll never know,” she says, “unless you try.”
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