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Latinx Excellence Career Panel presents students with professional advice, resources

Academic skills coach Mirna Cabrera alongside Assistant Director for the Latinx Resource Center Alondra Enriquez hosted the Latinx Excellence Career Panel to allow students to ask questions about career experience.

One of the panelists included Mireya Palencia, an English Lecturer at CSU Dominguez Hills and Cerritos College. Palencia described her academic journey and path to her current career, expressing a lifelong passion for teaching though admits that her career choices changed along with her experiences.

Palencia’s childhood influenced her desire to be a teacher, as she is the oldest daughter in a Spanish-speaking household. Taking on a leadership role, she helped her parents write checks or speak at the doctor’s office.

Palencia’s natural love of learning sparked her desire to make a positive impact on others.

“I was always that girl who played teacher with my siblings. Then when I started going to school, I always tried to help the teacher,” Palencia said.

After completing her bachelor’s in liberal studies, Palencia taught elementary and middle school. However, her dream of becoming an influential elementary school teacher started to dwindle.

“I felt like I wasn’t witnessing the immediate impact that my teaching had on my students.”

Despite English being her second language, Palencia made the decision to pursue her master’s and become a professor. Although her goal was not what she originally planned, she was able to adjust and pursue a career that made her happy.

Another panelist was Stacy Pozas, a CSULB and CSUF alumni who is now a social worker. She was driven toward the career after her father passed away, as well as witnessing her mother struggle as an undocumented immigrant. This led to her desire to help others like her mother.

“The most rewarding part of my job is helping people who are undocumented. Just building the trust and rapport with them,” Pozas said.

She spoke on tackling burnout in college, encouraging students to use friends and resources on campus as a support system.

“What kept me going was my cohort,” Pozas said. “We would all study together. You will have many moments when you are tired and feel like this isn’t for you. But keep going. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.”

Nevertheless, Pozas acknowledged that sometimes it is necessary to take a break. She took seven months off between graduate school and her first job, using that time to recuperate and spend quality time with her family.

For Latinx students who were unable to attend the panel, there are many resources available on campus.

According to their website, the Latinx Resource Center aims to educate students on the unique historical and cultural backgrounds that contribute to the Latinx community.

In honor of Latinx Heritage Month, they have hosted various events throughout the month in addition to the career panel, including Bienvenidos a la Playa and a Pupusa Technique class.

Updates on upcoming events can be accessed by their list-serv. Additionally, the Latinx Resource Center is located on campus in FO4-262 and can be contacted via email at raza@csulb.edu.

Another resource available to Latinx students on campus is the Dream Success Center. According to their website, they aim to support the health and wellness of the undocumented student community. In their mission to help students succeed, they offer various resources to those affected by immigration policy.

The program also provides a variety of financial and legal aid, including free immigration services and fee assistance for DACA renewals and citizenship applications.

They can be contacted by visiting their location on campus at SSC-290 or emailing dream@csulb.edu.

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