Her curiosity and willingness to explore opportunities rewarded Valeria Mendoza with a position at the CUNY Institute of Mexican Studies.
Valeria Mendoza ‘14 was always fascinated with the world around her, and she was curious to explore far beyond the shores of Long Island. The only thing that kept her in New York was having been accepted into the Levermore Global Scholars (LGS) program at Adelphi University.
LGS allowed her to pursue an internationally focused academic career with a dual major in international/Latin American studies. The program placed her with leaders of her generation—people who would continually inspire her and challenge the norm. This group of scholars, unique in their own ways, played an essential part of her college experience. Without the support of the program’s administration and dedicated faculty, Ms. Mendoza said she would not have found the social activist within her. The stimulating conversations helped shape her ability to think critically and holistically.
The Center for Career Development played an integral part in her success, too. Ms. Mendoza worked there for two years, providing graphic design to Career Compass. She also served as a student spokesperson, promoting résumé reviews, mock interviews and other services the center sponsored.
Ms. Mendoza’s professional surroundings kept her at the forefront of job opportunities and internships, including the Community Fellows Program, which she participated in for two straight years. The first summer, she worked for the Fair Media Council where she continued to develop her creative and marketing skills. The second, she worked for Global Kids in conjunction with the Horticultural Society of New York on the Greening Western Queens Initiative to advocate for green roofs on New York City´s public school buildings.
Then, with the help of the Center for Career Development’s Allison Keibel and Bernadine Waller, M.A. ‘10, she participated in the G-Plus Pre-Law Preparatory Program in Atlanta, Georgia, spending four weeks at Georgia State University understanding the ins and outs of the legal field—her true passion.
While not all of Ms. Mendoza’s collegiate experiences aligned specifically with her career path, they helped diversify her understanding of the nonprofit sector and built her confidence as a professional outside of the University setting. It was that confidence that reassured her that she was ready to find new opportunities outside of Adelphi.
Her curiosity and willingness to explore opportunities rewarded her with a position at the CUNY (The City University of New York) Institute of Mexican Studies. Had she not missed class to attend the Institute’s Annual Conference, she would not have met keynote speaker Robert C. Smith, an immigrant specialist and author of Mexican New York: Transnational Lives of New Immigrants, or Alyshia Gálvez, director of the Institute.
Today, Ms. Mendoza is still working at the Institute as a coordinator for the Anchoring Achievement in Mexican Communities Initiative, sponsored by the Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation. She conducts academic research on immigrant issues and hosts conferences catering to many New York City nonprofit organizations on topics such as diversity teaching and English-language learning and the trends and tendencies of New York’s Mexican population.
On the fast track, she completed her studies at Adelphi in three years and still got to immerse herself in campus life. She hopes to continue her work for the CUNY Institute of Mexican Studies for the remainder of the year before applying to law school.This article appeared in the Career Compass Fall 2014 Newsletter.
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