Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2020 graduates.
In her time at Arizona State University, when opportunities presented themselves –– Victoria Barbosa took them.
“Ever since my freshman year, I tried to get involved in different programs that The College offered,” said Barbosa, a double-major studying psychology and family and human development in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at ASU.
“I was a mentor in the Psychology Advising Leaders (PALs) Program, which allows students to gain leadership, presentation and organizational skills,” she said. “Through PALs, I created relationships within the Department of Psychology and was able to mentor first-year psychology students and help them with their transition to college.”
In addition to PALs, Barbosa was also an LIA 101 Learning Assistant, a research assistant in the New Mothers Postpartum Depression Project, as well as an undergraduate teaching assistant for the T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics.
Barbosa credits joining the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) her freshman year for helping her to succeed.
The CAMP Scholars Project, part of The College’s School of Transborder Studies, is federally funded through the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Migrant Education and provides academic and financial support to students like Barbosa who are from migrant and seasonal farmworker families.
“Joining the CAMP program in my second semester also really helped (with adjusting to ASU),” Barbosa said. “I could speak comfortably with professional staff in Spanish, voice my concerns to someone that I could relate to, and receive the emotional support I needed.”
Barbosa said she considers CAMP to be her “home away from home” because of the support they’ve provided her in her time at ASU.
“I know I can always drop by their office and talk to any staff member about a personal problem I might have, or just give them an update about what is going on in my life,” she said. “I’ve received a lot of support toward my educational goals –– for example, internship opportunities, professional development, and guidance in the process of applying to graduate school and jobs.”
Later in her time at ASU, Barbosa worked as a peer mentor for first-year CAMP students.
“This was such a rewarding experience because I was able to build a relationship with them and help them navigate through their first year,” she said. “It also helped me realize that I wanted to work with first-year students in a bigger capacity, ultimately helping me to decide to pursue my graduate degree in higher education.”
Barbosa answered some questions about her time at Arizona State University.
Question: Why did you decide to go to ASU?
Answer: I wanted to keep my options open and see what the other universities I applied to had to offer, but ultimately ASU gave me the opportunity to attend on a full scholarship, which was necessary for me. I was also very interested in the research opportunities and hands-on experience within the Department of Psychology. I had spoken with advisers in the department and I was very hopeful and enthusiastic about all the activities I could take part in.
Q: How has The College prepared you for success? And the CAMP Project?
A: The College has prepared me for success through all of the opportunities it offered. I also gained research experience that will certainly help me in my graduate studies through my work as a research assistant for the New Mothers Lab. The CAMP project helped me through personal development workshops, internship opportunities and guidance to apply for graduate school. I also developed better public speaking skills when I was invited to present alongside my supervisor at a leadership conference in New Mexico.
Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?
A: Dr. Casey Sechler, a lecturer in the Sanford School, encouraged me to explore options out of my comfort zone. She told me it's important to take opportunities and experience new things because they will open up a whole new world of possibilities. Additionally, she taught me the ability to recognize when we need a break for our own mental health. Another person would be Katie Bottorff, a senior outreach coordinator in The College. She was the adviser I worked with as a learning assistant for The College. She also supported me when I applied to graduate school and encouraged me by talking about her own experiences. As a first-generation student herself, she shared her personal struggles and gave me advice that I will forever cherish. I don't know if they realize how much of an impact they had on my life, but I will always be thankful that I had the opportunity to get to know them and work with them.
Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?
A: It's important to get out of your comfort zone and try new things. ASU offers so many opportunities for students to explore and everyone should take advantage of that. Whether it is an organization on campus, a research lab, an internship or learning a new language, you should try and find something that interests you.
Q: What are your plans after graduation?
A: I will be pursuing my master's in higher and postsecondary education from ASU's teachers college.
Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?
A: I would use that money for K-12 education. A lot of public schools in the country do not have access to resources that would allow students to better prepare themselves for higher education. As someone who attended a Title 1 school, I know what it's like to be at a disadvantage because your high school did not have enough teachers, classrooms were overcrowded and free college prep courses were not available.
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