Meet Our Team – Gerardo Valencia
This is the next installment in a series of interviews with the College Success Arizona team.
Continuing with this feature, we’re be taking a closer look at the College Success Arizona team, the people that make all that we do happen. We’ll be asking the normal “tell us a little about yourself” questions, but also delving a little deeper into each team member’s personality, and what makes them who they are.
This month’s subject is our newest Success Adviser, Gerardo Valencia.
What is your role at College Success Arizona?
I am a Success Adviser.
Please share with us a little bit about your background.
I was born in Tucson Arizona and grew up in Nogales, Mexico for about 14 years. I moved to the states with my maternal aunts and was immersed into the American culture while learning the language my freshman year of High school.
I come from a small family who is supportive and always admirable. I am the middle child, with my brother being the oldest and sister being the youngest. Before coming to Phoenix, I lived for the past years (8) in Tucson, where I attended The University of Arizona and then joined the workforce after graduation.
How did you come to be associated with College Success Arizona?
Staphany Ramirez who used to be the newest addition to the team, heard I was trying to expand my journey to the Phoenix Metropolitan area. Som she shared her experiences with me, talked about the importance of the role and basically sold the program and company to me!
Now we work closely together and truly grateful to her for this.
What is the best thing about working with students (or your job)?
They truly remind me of myself and close friends and I love to see that passion in their eyes as they journey towards accomplishing their goals. Being able to not only share my experience but actively learn from each of the students I interact with is the most valuable aspect of working with them. At the same time having such an important role in their lives, helps to reassure that they can count on someone investing in their future.
Why do you feel increasing Arizona’s College Attainment Rate is so important?
Because education is something that as an individual you need to invest in your life for the betterment of your own future. If more people invest into this it raises our attainment rate, which then correlates with a variety of effects state wide such as our economic scale.
What’s the best thing about working for College Success Arizona?
The opportunity to be in a role where you can meet with your students no matter where they are and show them that you are there for them. I also think professionally that the best thing about working for College Success Arizona is the knowledge I gain and partnerships I make which will continue to only grow as my time progresses here.
What is your vision of the Arizona of the future?
I see a state that keeps evolving for the future and well-being of its residents. Where public education is attainable to all, no matter where they come from, and available resources that can facilitate the post-secondary journey all the way to your doctorate degree.
If you had a message for a student just beginning their college career, what would that be?
You made it here! Remember the process, the frustration and above all… the rewards and joy you felt when you got into college. This right here will be something worth remembering as it will continue to guide you and propel your inner courage as you move in your academic journey. Do make mistakes, do ask for help, and contemplate the steps you need to make to get to your projected goal. Have or begin to create a foundation of people who will be your support system and get used to being uncomfortable at times. Things will be fine, enjoy the ride!
Basic stats (hometown, family, etc.):
I was born in Tucson and raised in Nogales, Mexico.
What is the one thing you couldn’t live without?
What is your cullinary specialty?
Something with chicken and baked!
What are your hobbies/favorite pastime?
I’m a big tea drinker and a traveler by nature. I love journaling, audio books, and above all, self-care.
What is your favorite quote or motto?
“Life is too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so love the people who treat you right, forget about the ones who don’t, and believe that everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said life would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it.” ― Harvey Mackay
What is your Favorite TV show?
What’s the band you’d listen to for the rest of your life?
What is your proudest moment?
Having someone special to me tell me that I made a difference in their life.
If you had a Super-Power, what would that be?
Easy, basically STORM from the X-Men (Psionic ability to manipulate weather)
What’s your favorite movie?
The Nightmare Before Christmas.
What was youf first, or most interesting job?
My first job was as a Courtesy Clerk at Safeway back in High School.
What is your guilty pleasure?