Meet Our Summer Associates: Stefany Miranda Mendoza

 In Scholar Profiles

Stefany Miranda Mendoza currently attends UC Santa Cruz and is a member of the class of 2025. She began her college career at Contra Costa College before transferring to Santa Cruz.

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself. Is there anything in particular that motivates you as you go through college and prepare yourself for a career?

A: I have lived in Richmond for about 13 years now. I am a first-generation student who comes from an immigrant family. As everyone may know, being an immigrant comes with significant sacrifices and barriers which is why it is my parents’ dream that their daughters get a college education. Knowing this, and that I am part of a group that has limited opportunities, gives me the determination to break through the obstacles I face in my academic journey and my daily life.

Q: How has Richmond Promise played a role in your education?

A: As someone who grew up in a low-income household, money has always been a barrier for me. It is part of the reason I started at a community college. In all honesty, Richmond Promise is the reason that I feel confident about transferring to a university. They have provided financial relief that has helped me with college materials and transportation, and allowed me to have learning opportunities like being a Richmond Promise Student Ambassador and Summer Associate. Aside from financial relief, RP has offered me support through the program Beyond 12, where I have monthly check-ins with a coach. In these check-ins we make sure I am on track academically and that my mental health is good.

Q: Why did you choose to be a Richmond Promise Summer Associate, and what do you hope to take from the experience?

A: In my community college, I did work-study and worked at the Student Life Office. I got the opportunity to assist people in receiving the resources that we offered such as transportation, food pantry, mental health support, and so on. It opened my eyes to see that there are resources out there that people in our community need and how I wanted to take part in giving that support. Becoming a Richmond Promise Associate allows me to provide this help and nurture growth in it. I look forward to all of the things I will learn here.

Q: What do you want to contribute to Richmond and/or the world?

A: Richmond is labeled as the city of “Pride and Purpose,” but the way people reacted when I told them I was from Richmond made me question if it was true. As I grew up, I learned that people from Richmond are some of the most hard-working and determined people I have seen. We have odds against us but still persevere and strive for more. In the future, I would like to pass on this mentality and support the new generation; for now, I can do so by setting an example.

Q: Can you tell us about your current college experience?

A: I started my college education at Contra Costa College, the community college nearest to Richmond. Since I started in 2021 when we were recovering from COVID-19, I took full online classes and did not have a social life. In my second year, I decided to change this by taking in-person classes and taking a job at the Student Life Office. This decision allowed me to step out of my comfort zone and make connections with people. I am proud of my decision to attend community college because it allowed me to grow in ways I never thought I could. The knowledge and support I have received have prepared me for my transfer journey to the University of California Santa Cruz.

Q: What are you looking forward to after receiving your bachelor’s/transferring?

A: I look forward to seeing the pride on my family’s faces and the cycle that I will be creating for my future generations. I do hope to get my teaching credential and teach elementary students, preferably in a school located in Richmond. This way I can give back to the community that did so much for me.

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