Project CONNECT's November 2011 Alumni of the Month is Claudia Gutierrez Espinoza! Claudia was kind enough to answer some questions on her college experiences and what she's doing now that she's graduated from SHSU. Thank you, Claudia!
Q: When did you graduate from SHSU?
A: December 2008
Q: What did you do right after you graduated?
A: Started working with Lone Star College- North Harris for their TRiO Talent Search program.
Q: What are you doing now? (job, graduate school…)
A: Still currently working with Talent Search at Lone Star College and I am looking into going back to school.
Q: What that a hard field or program to get into?
A: The process of finding a job right out of college can be a difficult one. Several students have the education but some do not have the experience needed for a specific line of work. It was not a program that I had first thought about working with but it was a program that did interest me. It was also something I was familiar with. I applied and I got the interview. The rest was history.
Q: What does your day usually involve?
A: Talent Search is a free college readiness program that assists students from disadvantaged backgrounds by providing them with the information and resources they need in order to go to college. I have a home office at Lone Star College, where I have meetings, complete paperwork, and develop curriculum and new events for our students. 80% of my work is spent at three of the six schools we service, working with sophomores and juniors. While at my schools I provide workshops all pertaining to college and how students can improve their educational and leadership skills. I also provide one- on- one advising session on careers and college.
Q: What do you like about what you’re doing?
A: Everything! Although I majored in health education and not too much on the education side. I still get to utilize some of the skills I learned in college. When we host events I am the go to person for science, health, and wellness workshops/seminars. I also enjoy the time I spend with the students I work with. I enjoy advising them with the correct career path that is specific to them. I help them explore their options and advise them not to settle.
Q: What do you not like about it?
A: When I see first hand what the student has to go through to get by. Some of our students have various roles at home besides being a child and a student. It is difficult to see them have to struggle at such a young age.
Q: Have you traveled anywhere special since graduating?
A: Yes, I do get to do some traveling with my job because we go on college visits to help students explore their college options. We recently took students to New York, which was a lot of fun! I have also been able to travel with family to various places that have all been special to me. As a matter of fact, my husband and I will be traveling at the end of this month to Jamaica, Grand Cayman Islands, and Cozumel.
Q: What is your favorite thing about being an alumni (not a student)?
A: I really enjoyed being a student at Sam and I do miss it but I am glad to be out in the real world living life and enjoying it to the fullest. I hated writing papers.
Q: What was your favorite thing about SHSU?
A: It's the total package! Great place to meet life long friends, great professors, beautiful campus, and great resources available for all students.
Q: What was your favorite thing about Huntsville?
A: The scenery. Nice quiet little town and if you want to have fun you can do that too! I would also enjoy the towns festivals.
Q: What was your favorite class or who was your favorite professor while you were in college?
A: I enjoyed every class except maybe POL SCI. :) I really enjoyed classes by Dr. Caroline Crimm, Caron Cates, Dr. Alessandro Bonnano, and Dr. Keathley.
Q: What would you do on the weekends when you were at SHSU?
A: I would have study groups with friends, go out to eat, watch movies, or just simply hang out.
Q: What advice would you give to college students?
A: Enjoy every last bit of your college life. Talk to your professors! They are great individuals who are willing to help out. Join a club or organization that fits your personality. Go to every event on campus! Go to the GYM! It's a great place to get healthy tips and stay in shape.
Q: If you were a high school senior again, what would you major and minor in?
A: I am not going to lie I was a bit indecisive, I was not sure if I should go into Education, Health or Nursing. I ruled out nursing because it was not offered and was not sure about transferring. I stuck with health because it interested me the most. I still like health but I would go for Nursing.