The independent student news site of San Diego Mesa College.

The Mesa Press

The Mesa Press

The independent student news site of San Diego Mesa College.

Breaking News

The Mesa Press

The Mesa Press

Women in positions of power lecture sparks inspiration among students

Panel+of+inspiring+women+preparing+to+share+their+thoughts%2C+experiences%2C+and+advice.
Cameron San Agustin
Panel of inspiring women preparing to share their thoughts, experiences, and advice.

A lecture hosted by two student moderators, Paulina Safa and Ruby Arellano, led four successful and highly educated women to give advice and share their education journeys to motivate students on April 3.

The panel consisted of Kristin Allred, Gaby Ruz, Jessica Rocha, and Dr. Ashanti Hands. All four speakers have been successful through their own education paths and careers. Allred is the Senior Vice President of operations and development at Recovery Solutions, which is the nation’s largest provider of general healthcare, psychiatric and substance abuse care, and mental healthcare. Ruz is the Senior Director of Operations at FICO (Fair, Issac, and Company), a data analytics company that provides credit scoring services. Rocha served 11 years in the military and is currently a detective with the Background Investigations unit for the San Diego Police Department. Dr. Hands is the current President of San Diego Mesa College. 

Each speaker was asked four rounds of questions about their successes and struggles throughout their education and career path. 

Dr. Hands went into depth about her experiences in a predominantly white school throughout her education, highlighting the need for representation and inclusivity in these spaces. She talked about the start of her education as early as the sixth grade when she decided to go to school in Westchester, Los Angeles. The experiences of a primarily white school versus the black community she grew up in were very different, but it didn’t stop her pursuit of growth in education. She ran for a leadership position in the student council in sixth grade and was the first black student to give the school’s graduation speech.

Story continues below advertisement

Allred shared her personal journey of overcoming her own educational barriers, expanding on her struggle with guidance and support from her parents while dealing with distractions along the way. “My dad wanted me to go to college, but he wanted me to get married and have kids more than me going to college.” Allred explained that she had to do things on her own. She went to multiple community colleges in San Diego, navigating her way through her own education and career path. She discovered that it is much harder to find the right path in education than to get a job and figure things out from there. Her self-worth pushed her to continue her education and achieve the career that made her happy. 

Rocha discussed her experience joining the military while going to school full time without any guidance or mentorship. She decided that once she had obtained her G.I. Bill, a wide arrangement of benefits for military veterans, she would apply to a university. She bounced around multiple colleges to finish prerequisites that were required to graduate all while working full time for the military until she completed her military term and her education. “I think one of the biggest challenges was going to school full time and working full time. So if anyone is in the same boat, I commend you because it is tough.”

Ruz pointed out the importance of self-reflection, and her experiences persevering through education. Ruz grew up in a Hispanic household where her father was a Spanish tutor and a literature teacher at her high school making education a huge part of her life. Her struggle was having to transfer from a private school to a public school, causing chaos throughout her high school career. She made perseverance a huge part of her personality as a result and reflected the meaning of purpose. “I graduated Southwestern with honors and I graduated San Diego State with honors. School itself won’t be that hard so long as you know that you’re doing it with a purpose.” 

The speakers also shared their experiences and gave advice on strategies for women who work in  male-dominated industries that face bias. Each speaker highlighted the importance of perseverance, belief in oneself, and resilience while overcoming challenges such as sexism and racism. “The things that you want to look at, being black, low income, or a woman, are my superpowers. That is what makes me who I am,” Dr. Hands said in response to her experiences of overcoming gender bias throughout her career. 

They also touched on how to balance their responsibilities as a woman in a position of power with their personal life: “For me, it’s less about balance and more about my ability to prioritize those things that are balanced,” said Dr. Hands. Rocha added that it’s okay to be stuck in life rather than trying to do everything at once. Being able to balance responsibilities and home life is difficult which is why it is important to choose a career that is enjoyable. 

All four speakers gave encouraging advice to women who are faced with the challenges of a male-dominated society. They emphasized overcoming challenges, remaining resilient, and breaking stereotypes in the hopes that all women in education will leave an impact. 

 

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Mesa Press
$395
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of San Diego Mesa College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

About the Contributor
Cameron San Agustin
Cameron San Agustin, Staff Writer
Cameron San Agustin is journalism major for his second year at San Diego Mesa College. His goal is to transfer to San Diego State University after this semester to obtain his bachelor degree in journalism. On his free time he is a musician and works at Salt and Straw in Little Italy.  He plays drums for a few bands and will be seen playing some small gigs around San Diego.
Donate to The Mesa Press
$395
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

Here at The Mesa Press, we want to foster a community for civil discussions. We welcome your insight and perspective. Comments posted must be appropriate for all ages. Any profanity or cursing is prohibited. That includes any attempts to curse with special characters (!@#) or spacing. Discuss and criticize ideas. We don’t allow comments that intend to intimidate, demean or harass other readers in any way.
All The Mesa Press Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *