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Graduate Reflections

Dina Barajas

Dina Barajas and Family
(From Left) Ophelia Barajas, Dina Barajas,
Olivia Lundo-Navarro and Jamile Navarro.

When I transferred to CSULB from Citrus Community College, I was determined to work hard and take my education seriously. I aligned myself with campus services such as the Educational Opportunity Program because I knew that maintaining an active relationship with my academic community provides support, especially during challenging times. Fortunately, I also have a supportive family. The people closest to me, my mother and my Aunt Olivia, have always been there to encourage me when my motivation was lacking. Since they too have received a college education, they know how demanding it can be.

I was informed of the Partners for Success Program through a classmate who was a mentee at the time. Partners aligned me with Dr. Angela Bowen, a Women’s Studies professor. Dr. Bowen has been very helpful in assisting with my academic progress and encouraging me to continue my education through graduate school. Dr. Bowen also informed me of the McNair Scholars Program, which provides minority and low income students the opportunity to perform and publish research, while preparing them for the rigors of graduate school. Since joining McNair, I presented my research on Hopi women in governance at CSULB’s annual McNair research presentation and at the annual research competition at the University of California, Riverside.

The support and guidance of my mentor and the McNair Scholars Program have enhanced my confidence. As a result, I believe that I can handle the demands of graduate school. Currently, I am waiting to hear from the University of Arizona’s American Indian Studies Ph.D. program. Upon receiving my bachelor’s in women’s studies in spring 2006, I intend to pursue my Ph.D. in American Indian Studies and become an American Indian Studies professor.