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Graduate GEARs UP for Future Career in School Counseling

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As a first-generation college student, Aileen Garcia was excited to discover the opportunities available to her at CSUF. In her first year, she initially majored in chemistry but later found her passion in Chicana and Chicano studies and political science. During her first year, she faced obstacles that nearly pushed her to take a break, but she found her strength in the Titan family to continue with her educational journey.

Thanks to the Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies, CSUF Pre-Law Society and Sigma Kappa, she found her passion to help her community, educate others and fight for justice. Aileen took on several law-related internships, served on the executive board of the CSUF Pre-Law Society and studied political science, her minor. But something still felt incomplete. Everything changed when she took a course about “The Chicano Child” and joined the Cal State Fullerton GEAR UP team, a federal grant program serving at-risk Anaheim Union High School District students.

As a student worker with GEAR UP, she serves as a success ambassador at Loara High School in Anaheim. Through her daily enjoyment in advising students, creating college preparatory workshops and serving as a tutor and mentor, she chose to dedicate herself to continue bettering her community through similar work in her career. With the support of her colleagues at GEAR UP, she ultimately decided to pursue a master’s degree in school counseling after graduating from CSUF. 

Aileen will be attending the University of San Diego this fall to continue her education. This is all thanks to the opportunities that Cal State Fullerton has been able to offer her. She graduates confident in her ability to fulfill her dreams of fighting for justice, educating others and helping many communities.

Submitted by GEAR UP/Center for Educational Partnerships

Aileen is earning a bachelor’s degree in ethnic studies with a concentration in Chicana and Chicano studies.

Debra Cano Ramos