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Melody Casas, Class of 2016
Melody recently graduated from Grand Canyon University in Exercise Science with an emphasis in Health Education. She is now back home and currently applying for graduate school to obtain her Masters in Occupational Therapy. If all goes well, she plans on getting her Doctorates in Occupational Therapy! One of Melody’s proudest moments while in college was pushing herself. This helped her graduate earlier than her peers. She ended up having to take many courses in one semester, but it was all worth it for Melody! Melody expressed that going away from home to attending college in a different state was the best, yet hardest decision she ever made. It taught her to be independent and experience what it is like to be an adult. Melody said, “It was extremely hard at first because I am super close to my family (I cried for a whole month straight!). However, I realized that instead of letting that hurt and fear take over me, I had to use it to my advantage and make it my motivation to graduate as soon as possible.” Despite it being hard to be away from home at first, Melody would recommend students to go away for college. She believes students will learn to value themselves and trust the process regardless of what life may throw at them. While in college, Melody was involved in the Occupational Therapy club as well as the Latino Student Union. Something she wished she knew before entering college was that it’s okay not to have everything figured out. Melody states, “I always felt the constant pressure of feeling like I needed to know what career I wanted to pursue. Being the first in my family to go to college was very hard because it felt as there wasn’t any room for failure, and I did not want to disappoint them. It honestly took a while for me to acknowledge the fact that my family was going to be supportive regardless of what direction I chose.” Melody thanks FACES as it helped with her decision to apply to colleges. “There were so many times where I felt so lost in the process of applying…I would go to the FACES room after school, having anxiety about everything! Luckily Alex and Ms. H were always willing to help me think about everything in a rational way. They are actually the ones who gave me the idea of becoming an OT.”
Nancy Yang, Class of 2014
Nancy is currently attending San Diego State University, majoring in Communications. Nancy Yang is currently a Program Intern with FACES for the Future and is based at Hoover High School, her alma mater. She has received two Associates Degrees from Grossmont Community College, one in Communications and one in the University of Social Science and Behavior and is currently working on her Bachelor’s Degree in Communications at San Diego State University. Graduating from community college and transferring to a university is one of Nancy’s proudest accomplishments. In addition to volunteering with FACES, she also volunteers with the Boys and Girls club and is active in her community, winning 2nd place in the Lao Hmong Family Pageant.
Nhi Duong, Class of 2017
Nhi is attending the University of CA- Los Angeles, majoring in Psychology. As a college student who often feels more uncertain about the future than certain, I feel reassured and grateful when I reflect on the valuable lessons I’ve learned, the amazing opportunities I received, and the incredible people I’ve met through the FACES program. Through my experience with FACES, I know for certain that I have the skills to create a professional resume, navigate my own finances and pursue a career helping people whether through nonprofits or in hospital settings. I learned that healthcare isn’t just limited to doctors and nurses and I will soon find out what I truly want to do. In the meantime, I know I have a group of people who will always be there to help me when I need them.”
Jose Daniel Bastian Salgado, Class of 2017
Jose is attending the California Lutheran University. His major is Exercise Science. Jose has his sights on becoming a doctor. He is not sure about the specialty area, yet. During the summer of 2019, Jose worked in a lab at UC Irvine in the Ecological and Nutritional Physiology Department. The project he worked on was called “Evolution of Dietary Specialization in Prickleback Fishes.” He performed tests focusing on activity for eight different enzymes, as well as measured carbohydrate, protein, and lipid content on fish excreta. Jose is a student that values learning and takes on as many opportunities as possible.
Raenita Spriggs, Class of 2013
Raenita attended the University of CA- Berkeley earning her Bachelor’s in Public Health. She then attended the University of CA-Los Angeles earning her Master’s in Public Health with a concentration in Environmental Sciences. She is currently the Strategy Specialist at UCLA Institute of Environment and Sustainability. As someone who is deeply passionate about climate, health and equity, I’m aspiring towards a career in environmental health policy and research, specifically addressing environmental racism and the need for climate resilience in vulnerable communities. I’m currently nurturing this goal as the Assistant Director for Assessment, Education Research and Partnerships of UCLA’s Center for Diverse Leadership in Science (CDLS). At CDLS, I’m working to build, fund, and advance programs and partnerships related to environmental and climate justice. In the future, these passions for environmental health and justice may take me to other non-profits and eventually into government. After all, I’d like to be the President one day.
Thank you, Janssen Pharmaceuticals!
Janssen hosted our FACES Alumni networking event where students learned about certification and internship opportunities from a variety of partners.
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