are a lot of negative ideas about what a Latina is and what she’s
involved in. But we’re starting to become CEOs. We’re
getting right up there.”
On the eve
of her transfer to Cal State Fullerton, Zaida Rodriguez was reflecting
on all that SMC has given her and other Latina women. “There
are so many choices and opportunities open to us here. You find
out that you don’t have to follow a closed-minded
path: You don’t have to stay at home and have babies,”
she says. “You can do a lot of great things for yourself.”
Zaida adds that doing “great things” for others is also
a big part of what being at SMC means.
in the Outreach office, where we register high-school kids for
classes that they get college credit for. This way, these kids
get it in their minds that college is for them, and they get a
big ‘step up’ when they come here to study.” Zaida,
whose family came here from El Salvador, says that SMC is uniquely
aware of the needs and desires of young Latinas in search of fulfilling
professional careers. “You have all the resources here to
let you become whatever you want to be,” says the future
animator and graphic designer. “You just need to check in
with some of the great counselors we have, like Maria Martinez,”
is my counselor, and she actually graduated from SMC. She even
had my job when she went here,” says Zaida with a laugh.
“She’s been very inspiring and helpful to me. And she
just came back from a conference where about 400 high-powered
Latinas—from all the professions—got together to discuss
what community colleges should be doing to reach people like me.
But I’ve already accomplished so much here,” adds Zaida.
“I’ve learned English, I’m graduating and transferring,
and I’ll definitely be working for Disney some day.
So I’d say that SMC is already reaching out to Latina students
in all the right ways.”