Photo by James Tensuan, '15 Photojournalism
Major: Child and Adolescent Development
Connie L. Lurie College of Education
Why did you choose your major?
I always knew that I wanted to work with children. I enjoy working with children and seeing them grow and develop throughout the years. One of the reasons why I chose this major is because I want to give back to the community especially to underrepresented minorities. I grew up in a middle class Hispanic family and it was difficult because of the lack of resources my family had. Receiving support from mentors and teachers at school helped me realize that working with children and their families to reach their true potential is something that is very important to me because I experienced how even the smallest amount of help goes a long way. I discovered that helping children who lack support or are in a unique situation is what I want to do in the future.
What does receiving this particular award mean to you?
The moment I was notified that I was going to receive this award filled me with joy. I was happy because I was shocked. I know that I do well in school but receiving this award is a reflection of all the work and dedication that I put into my school work. It was a great way to look back on what I have accomplished so far and how grateful I am to receive such great support along the way.
Who has had the greatest influence or impact on your life? In addition, tell us about a SJSU faculty member who contributed to your academic success.
Several people play such a huge role in my life. My family and their resiliency are my fuel. My parents and siblings encourage me to be the best person that I can be everyday. Having their support means a lot to me. The other person that has made an impact on my life is my best friend. She is my role model. Her hard working, self-less, and passionate personality is my motivation. I look up to her and how she overcomes the obstacles thrown at her.
I have had the privilege to work alongside faculty members. Both Rayna Friendly and John Jabagchourian have provided me opportunities that not only help with my academic success but also my personal development. There are times when these opportunities are also challenges. It can be something as simple as in class work or a term paper but being able to interact with class content through this and breaking me out of my shell has helped me gained a better understanding and new perspective of the content. I thank them for the support they have given me throughout the past years and for everything they have taught me. I have learned a lot from being their student. They are such an inspiration and I am glad they play a role in my academic journey here at SJSU.
Describe an experience that has shaped who you are today.
Before working at Peer Connections, I was a more shy and not so confident person. Being able to facilitate two study sessions throughout the week and working with faculty has made me feel more confident. It has helped me with my communication and presenting skills. This experience also made my doubts fade away. I realized that I am capable of doing anything and most importantly, I am able to conquer my fears.
What would you say to other students to encourage or inspire them to attain academic excellence?
Graduating from college is not easy but it is doable. There will be several times in which we want to give up but it is important to remember your values and motives for graduating. Failing is part of the journey but showing resiliency is what is most rewarding to your own development. Academic excellence also entails asking for help from family, friends, and faculty. Do not be afraid to ask for help because it will make a difference in your academic journey.
What makes you a Spartan?
The ability to accept and learn from both my successes and failures. Not only helping myself but helping other students in their college journey through my successes and failures makes me a Spartan. A proud one.
Nominated by Rayna Friendly
Professor, Child & Adolescent Development
"Joara has been doing great in my classes and has also worked with both John and I as a Peer Supplemental Instructor in our ChAD 101 classes."