Making life-long connections at Beloit
What made Beloit stand out from your list of colleges and attracted you to decide to attend here?
I narrowed my list down to schools listed in the “Colleges that Change Lives” book. I wanted a small liberal arts school that was different from the norm. I also wanted a school with a diverse student body. I found Beloit College to have all of these “requirements.” The quirkiness and “just try it out!” attitude of Beloit were perfect for me. I wanted a school that would stretch me.
Did you find yourself having a hard time navigating college life as a first-year student at Beloit?
It was not challenging for me to adapt to a new environment since I consider myself a pretty active and extroverted person. I was well-prepared to get out of my comfort zone by improving my interpersonal skills (leadership and communication skills) through participating in various student organizations and clubs in my high school years. I run for the class representative position in Beloit Student Government (BSG) in my freshman year. Though I did not stay involved in BSG for my entire time at Beloit, the knowledge and the friendships I gained through it have remained memorable and invaluable for years to come. Given my time with BSG, I had the chance to attend the lecture conference. At this conference, they informed me of the opportunity to join an American Association of University Women (AAUW) program about women achieving positions in elected office. Participating in the AAUW program was eye-opening and amazing. I enjoyed spending a day workshopping and listening to women who held these elected positions. Beloit also supported me in my growth as a person by allowing me to execute my ideas. In the spring semester of my freshman year, my club, the Outdoor Environmental Club (OEC), received funding from the Beloit Funding Board to successfully host a trip to Denver for installing solar panels onto residents’ homes. This trip is an example of one of the many things that Beloit College does well - if students take the initiative, the school will do what it can to make the experience possible.
What is one piece of advice you would give to first-year students?
Get involved. The best thing I did for myself was to join clubs and sports and find an on-campus job. All activities allowed me to expand my social sphere and break up the life revolving around homework that all college students live. I can almost guarantee that you will find a whole new world at Beloit College once you become an active member of extracurriculars.
What are your majors and minors? When did you declare each of these? If possible, could you share the story behind your decision with us?
I declared a double major in International Political Economy and Spanish with a minor in Political Science in the spring semester of my sophomore year. I got involved in some political leadership organizations such as the Youth in Government program, the National Honor Society, and the Student Council back in my high school years. Each program was an eye-opening experience for me to understand the structure of an organization, the importance of the decision-making process of a policy, and, most importantly, the impact of policy on community work. They coaxed out my love of the political aspect. That was why I decided to major in International Political Economy - it helped me understand the structures, hierarchies, and power dynamics around the world through the lenses of economics. And about Spanish, I have always found excitement in navigating new languages besides my mother tongue since 8th grade. I continued my Spanish journey throughout high school, college, and beyond.
Besides clubs and organizations, did you participate in any sports activities or take any on-campus jobs during your time at Beloit?
Yes, I participated in the Cross Country team and had 2 on-campus jobs: the campus tour guide and the Teaching Assistant (TA) for the Principles of Economics class that started in the fall semester of my sophomore year. The story of my getting involved in the Cross Country team was quite similar to my high school experience participating in the Diving team. Both of my involvements started with me trying to embark on new challenges I was alerted to know. Running Cross Country gave me the mental release that I needed to be a successful college student. I have also found my second family within my Cross Country team, who has stayed beside me for many years to come. Regarding my employment on campus, both jobs were great experiences that sharpened my communication skills and boosted my confidence in speaking in front of people. Being a tour guide opened me up to many opportunities to meet and talk to prospective students about the school I love - a rewarding job! While being a TA for Professor Laura Grube’s course helped me instill my major knowledge and taught me how to communicate my understanding to other students.
Who (faculty, staff, coaches, friends, etc.) was instrumental in helping you get the most out of your 4-year experience at Beloit College?
All the connections I have made at Beloit were instrumental in my growth and development journey. From my friends, teammates, and co-workers to all the professors in the Economics and Spanish Department, the Career Works, their supports were indispensable to making my Beloit experience memorable and invaluable. During my junior year, Professor Laura Grube referred me to Belmark Associates where I first gave a chance to work on real-life projects. I also improved my communication and collaboration skills which have been exceptionally beneficial to my professional career later. During my time at Belmark, I performed the investigation in different ways that my client’s company could go to the market to achieve its goals. I also got my first internship at Her Justice, a law firm in New York, with the support of Career Works and Professor Sylvia Lopez. Career Works alerted me to the opportunity, helped me prepare my resume, and offered a grant (Commons Grant) to cover my living expenses in the city. At the same time, Professor Sylvia Lopez connected me with the alumna working there to learn more about my applied position. The opportunity to work as a legal assistant was eye-opening. The experience was phenomenal and was a turning point that made me choose to pursue my career pathway in law.
How did Beloit College support you with your interest in Spanish?
Beloit College is amazing in that it assures all majors can have the opportunity to study abroad, which helps students be exposed to new cultures, gain new perspectives, and practice languages if students pursue learning languages. During the spring of my Junior year, I studied abroad in Alicante, Spain. I worked with the Office of International Education to find a program that was right for me. Studying abroad was both the scariest thing that I had done as well as being the most rewarding. I will cherish the memories that I made there forever. From taking all of my classes in Spanish, living with my wonderful host mother, traveling around Europe, running my first half marathon, to hiking the Camino de Santiago, there was not a day that I did not enjoy.
How did you prepare yourself for your post-Beloit experience?
I continued working on my hard and soft skills to prepare myself for new challenges after Beloit, for the working settings. I improved my communication and collaboration skills by being a Teaching Assistant for the Accounting and Business Finance course taught by Professor Diep Phan. Senior year also allowed me to attend the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL) in Washington D.C., where I met and connected with many amazing women leaders in the United States. During my application process for my first job after college, Professor Laura Grube and Professor Diep Phan alerted me to many job opportunities within economics. In my opinion, Beloit faculty and staff do a great job of connecting students to fabulous opportunities. Even as a graduate, I continue to receive correspondence from professors about interesting job opportunities.
What was your first job after graduation? Could you briefly describe your day-to-day responsibility?
After graduation, I worked as an English language and Culture Assistant in a secondary school in Burgos, Spain (I got my first job through the Auxiliares de conversación Program). I never thought I would work in the education and culture field. However, this opportunity incorporate the Spanish major and my dream of living abroad, so I accepted the challenge and took the job. Though the experience was just a toe-dip into the waters of living abroad and immersion, I realized how much joy it brought me. My responsibility for this job was to collaborate with the teachers in preparing interesting lessons about American culture for the students. The conversations spurred from these topics were priceless and remained invaluable for me many years later.
How about your current job now?
I am currently working as the Legal Assistant for Davis & Goldfarb. My daily work focuses on cases coming before the Immigration Court and the Board of Immigration Appeals, including cancellation of removal, hardship waivers, consular visa processing, adjustment of status, asylum, VAWA, and U non-immigration status applications.