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Belen Gutierrez

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Belen Gutierrez

“This is not how I imagined my graduate school experience to be”

This is not how I imagined my graduate school experience to be. When the shelter-in-place order occurred, I immediately made my way back down to my home town to support my parents. They're older and more at risk of contracting COVID-19 and having health complications. So I now have the added responsibility of running errands and being caretaker while also balancing school work and job searches. Internet access has been a bit spotty, since my hometown is in a rural part of the Central Valley. But my professors and teaching assistants have been kind and generous with understanding my current reality. 

Even though it’s difficult to stay motivated with these challenges, I know that I want to go on to work directly with students, either through social organizations or academic services. My experience of being mentored and guided in my undergraduate and graduate studies led me to become a mentor at Stanford’s El Centro Chicano y Latino's Frosh Scholar Program. Working with my two freshman mentees has reinforced how important having community on campus is when transitioning into college. I hope to continue to work in creating strong inclusive and diverse communities for students on college campuses and provide resources for students to succeed. 

Belen Gutierrez is a master’s student in the policy, organization, and leadership studies program at Stanford Graduate School of Education.

June 2, 2020

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