This month we caught up with Michelle Sandoval, Be A Leader’s new Project Manager, for an introductory Q&A.
We’re excited to welcome Michelle as part of our G1DPR family and look forward to all of our students and parents meeting her.
What is your new role with Be A Leader and G1DPR?
I am the newest Project Manager for the Be A Leader Foundation- Pico Rivera. I am responsible for overseeing the curriculum development for the Senior students in our group, to assist them in achieving their fullest potential as they complete the college application process. Additionally, my role implements and executes college-focused activities that expand into the community, such as college visits, workshops and panels.
Tell us about your background: Where did you grow up and where did you go to high school & college?
I am the proud daughter of Mexican and Guatemalan immigrant parents, born and raised in a small town located in the heart of the Coachella Valley. I completed high school at Desert Hot Springs High School and, as the first college graduate in my family, received my Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology, with a minor in Communication, from Stanford University.
What was your college application process and college experience like? Who guided you?
The experience for me was very much like throwing a dart at a bullseye, while blindfolded. Although I was valedictorian of my class and had challenged myself extensively – for example, I had completed two courses at UC-Riverside as a Junior in high school, my position as a daughter of immigrants whose first language was Spanish, meant that I counted on my parents for the moral support to get through the college application process but was very much on my own when it came to completing the forms themselves. The guidance I received came in the form of the “can do” attitude that my parents instilled in me, which ultimately allowed for me to succeed in researching and informing myself as much about the process as I could.
What inspires you to help Be A Leader/G1DPR students be successful – what do you want our students and parents to know about the support they can receive?
The application process was one of the most stressful periods for me in my academic career. I had done everything that I possibly could to demonstrate the kind of competitive student I was; however, I felt so alone. I want my students to know that I have been there, my parents have been there, and that they do not have to do it alone just because I did. It takes a village for a child to succeed. And, we are the village that is going to support their family throughout the college process.
What are your goals for Be A Leader this first semester?
My goals are to strengthen and empower the participating Senior Boot Camp students in preparation for their college applications. Also, I would like to increase the mentorship role that the Senior students play in the lives of the underclassmen Be A Leader Club members through educational activities and visibility within the community.
What message would you like to extend to our G1DPR family – students, parents, & community?
We CAN do it. Not alone, but together. ¡Juntos podemos!