Vanessa Colunga

Vanessa Colunga

Senior Academic Advisor

Phone: 408.924.5363

Bio: Vanessa was born and raised in Santa Ana, CA. Vanessa came from a community that was built on the value of you work hard for what you have and want in life. Vanessa took that and applied that to her future goals. School did not always come easy to her but with support and assistance from her family and mentors she was able to overcome her struggles in school. Vanessa is an alumni of San Jose State University. She graduated in 2014 with her BA in Sociology concentration in Social Interaction. In 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic, Vanessa graduated with her Master of Arts in Education; Guidance and Counseling from SJSU. 

Vanessa has worked as a Peer Advisor while a student at SJSU. She enjoyed her time working with students on probation because she understood what it was like to be in their shoes. She was able to empathize and understand what students were experiencing during their academic journey. Vanessa has also taught EDCO 4FY and Science 90 st SJSU, where she helped incoming Undeclared Freshman learn how to navigate SJSU and help them to find their way towards the major they were interested in pursuing. Science 90 was a course for students who were on academic probation that helped students to return back to good academic standing by instilling time management, study skills, and a support system to assist them through the academic recovery process.

Vanessa was first an Advisor with Academic Advising and Retention Services (AARS). During her time at AARS she worked with Undeclared students and students who were on Academic probation. The thing she enjoys the most about being an Advisor is seeing her students succeed and grow. College is a place where one can learn, explore, and make mistakes. 

Q and A

1. What was your favorite class in undergrad?

I had many classes I enjoyed while earning my Sociology degree. The two classes I can narrow down to my favorite classes were Soci 80 - Social Problems and Soci 170 - Sociology of Family. The Social Problems class opened my eyes to many topics I was passionate about but never knew I was. It was the class that helped me to realize that I wanted to change my major to Sociology from Biochemistry. The Sociology of Family class was another favorite   because it helped me to realize I wanted to be in a career within the helping profession.  

2. What is something interesting on your bucket list?

One thing on my bucket list would be to be able to travel to Europe for 2 weeks or a month. I would like to explore all the amazing places each country has to offer. 

3. What is your piece of advice for incoming students?    

I have several pieces of advice I give students I meet with. But the most important piece of advice I would like to emphasize is to not be afraid to ask for help or ask questions. I truly believe in the motto “a closed mouth does not get fed”. I have always been a person to ask questions. Although asking for help has not always been easy for me to do. Although in college I learned my professors were human too and were willing to help me. Never be afraid to ask for help. The worst answer you can receive is no but it allows you to move on to the next yes.