Meet Our Summer Associate: Ariana Ortega

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Ariana Ortega | San Francisco State University| Class of 2021

Ariana Ortega is a proud Richmond native, who graduated from Making Waves Academy in 2017. She will begin her Junior year at San Francisco State University this fall. Ariana credits many of her motivation to her parents and has received the support necessary to succeed thanks to scholarship programs like the Richmond Promise and CAP Bay Area. After she graduates from college, Ariana hopes to become an educator. Ariana wishes to provide students in her community with a high-quality education so they can develop the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed.

Q: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself? Expand on hardships/motivational factors that influence you to this day.

A: “My name is Ariana Ortega and I graduated from Making Waves Academy in 2017. I am currently a student at San Francisco State University, entering my 3rd year as a Liberal Studies major with a minor in Education. I grew a passion for education in college but I always knew I wanted to work with children. I hope to one day become an elementary school teacher. I grew up in a low-income family in Richmond, California. Education has always emphasized in my home by my parents because they were unable to get passed the 6th grade. Seeing them struggle in their jobs and my mother get backlash for not speaking English motivates me to be in school. They influenced me to be a better person every day and value my education.

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

A: “For me, Richmond Promise is a sense of hope. Richmond is not a community people look at and say good things about or expect students to go to college. But having an organization like Richmond Promise who not only provide a scholarship but provide guidance in college. They are a resource to me when I have questions related to financial aid. They make sure their students know they are there to help and are available to them. I know that when I have any questions or need resources they can help me out. I know that Richmond Promise will always be on my side and they have opportunities to work alongside them for summer. I am lucky to be part of the summer 2019 summer associates.

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

A: “I hope to one day work in Richmond as a k-5th teacher and give back this way. I want to encourage young children to learn to love learning. I want to make children think of themselves going to college at a young age. Since the start of 5th grade, I was always told I was going to college. From that point on I always had the mentality that I was going to college. I knew that not going to college was not an option. I wish to also start college awareness when I teach.”

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

A: “Currently, I will be starting my 3rd year at SFSU. When I first started, I was a little lost because I did not entirely understand the system I was in. On-campus, I was part of the Metro College Success Program that is designed for students to receive guidance in their first two years at SFSU. They provide free tutoring, private classes and advising for us. Although not everything was handed down I had to understand what classes to take and what not to take. I was in the advising office a lot because I frequently had questions. From going so often I could understand how to find different things on my portal. It was not easy for me to finally be on track for 4 years because I had to take remedial classes and before I did not know they did not count toward graduation. Getting familiar with the SFSU system was important for me because I knew once I understand what I needed to do and how to do it I was going to succeed and stay on track.”

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

A: “I look forward to exploring the teaching world. I look forward to getting my credentials and having my own classroom with my own set of students. I do not only look forward to helping children grow but also growing myself as a person and teacher. I hope that I can make a real difference with my bachelors.”

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