Last semester was intense as I learned how to balance life as a full-time employee and full-time graduate student. I took difficult courses while I also worked on seven doctoral (Ph.D.) program applications. Now, I am one semester away from completing a Master’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin (UT). My time in Austin has led me to reflect and develop myself and my goals, which I am excited to share my recent progress.
Academic Life: I am thankful for my supportive family, friends, and colleagues who continue to pray for good news and positive vibes as I await the final decisions for my doctoral programs. I applied to several doctoral programs and have conducted several graduate interviews with faculty members from their respective universities thus far. It is an exhilarating feeling but, overall, I am excited where God’s plan will set me to in the next academic year. I am excited to prepare for my research presentation at the American Educational Research Association (AERA), which will take place in early April at Toronto, Canada.
Professional Life: As a Site Coordinator for Project MALES (Mentoring to Achieve Latino Educational Success), I am still strategizing and developing more engaging ways to positively influence our young boys of color throughout Austin ISD. Many of my mentees have shown much potential but are depicted in a deficit-perspective because they face detention and suspension several times, which gradually pushes them into the school-to-prison pipeline.
I am teaching classes again at the University of Texas at Austin and St. Edward’s University (SEU). For UT, my colleagues and I are teaching our undergraduate students how to become better mentors through social emotional learning and restorative practices. At SEU, I am teaching a service-learning course where my students have each been assigned to volunteer and mentor at any three offered locations: a Pre-K/Kindergarten school, a middle school, or youth program.
Personal Life: Throughout winter break, I had the chance to reunite with people I haven’t seen in a long time. I have also developed several goals for 2019; I have restarted my workout sessions, planned several hiking trips in Austin, and began a proper diet. I want to continue exploring Austin more thoroughly through the hiking trails and food places I have yet to visit. I also want to read at least one book per month; I am currently reading A Dream Called Home: A Memoir by Reyna Grande. If anyone has read this book or recommends a book to read next, please let me know!