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Ethnic Studies College of Social Sciences & Interdisciplinary Studies

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Graduating Student of the Year 2024

Meet our 2024 Department of Ethnic Studies Graduating Student of the Year and SSIS Dean’s Award Nominee, Adriana Aranda!

Adriana Aranda

My name is Adriana Aranda and I am a dedicated and passionate student in Ethnic Studies. I have consistently excelled in my academic studies while simultaneously devoting my time to working full-time for a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting my community in Solano County. Through my involvement in the Pathway to Success Program with the WorkForce Development Board of Solano County, I have actively supported individuals in need by providing financial assistance and a compassionate listening ear. My work with the homeless population has ensured that they have access to essential resources during times of crisis. Even during the challenges posed by COVID-19 and being deemed as an essential worker, I remained committed to both my education and community service, maintaining exemplary grades throughout. My Bachelor of Arts in Ethnic Studies from Sacramento State University has equipped me with the skills to navigate diverse socioeconomic backgrounds and cultures, further enhancing my ability to positively impact those around me.

Throughout my educational journey, I have faced numerous challenges that have only fueled my determination to succeed. Despite being placed in remedial classes in high school and having to work multiple jobs to help support both my family and my education at Napa Valley Community College and Sacramento State University, I never lost sight of my goal of earning a degree. This experience has shaped me into a resilient individual with a strong support system that has helped me navigate the obstacles in my path. Feeling hopeless at one point brought me to seek out help as I am a first generation student. When I finally found a counselor who took the time to listen to my concerns and feeling like maybe I should not have sought out higher education, he helped me use that doubtful feeling and find the fire that I now have to continue to finish my goal. It has brought me so much honor that despite all of my obstacles I have continued to thrive. Last semester I was also inaugurated into the Tau Sigma National Honors Society for transfer students. Which has also reflected my dedication and passion to push and motivate myself.

My ultimate goal is to earn my B.A. and continue on to a Master's Program so that I can help empower and guide students who may be facing similar struggles. I am committed to creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for all students at higher education institutions, ensuring that they feel supported and encouraged to pursue their academic goals. I have also engaged with high school students while volunteering, and providing them some classroom support has also empowered me to want to continue into a Masters Program. Volunteering has also opened up a door for younger students to ask me questions about why I pursued going to Sacramento State, and what has helped me throughout my journey. Many of these students showed so much interest in wanting to go to college which ignited my passion to be able to speak about my journey, my experience and show them that even though we may go through hard things in life, we can reach our goal. No matter how long it may take, and I am a true testament to the fact that it is never too late.

I believe that every student deserves the chance to thrive and succeed, and I am dedicated to making a positive impact on the lives of others, one student at a time.