Sandra Becerra “A lot of people get an education and then leave the community to go into business. But I always want to remember where I came from.”

As the first member of her family to go to college, Sandra Becerra has always had her family firmly in her corner. “My best teacher was always my father,” says Sandra who has now transferred to Cal State Los Angeles. “He taught me to seek knowledge on my own and not depend on anyone else to do it for me.” But as a Summer Intern working for the City of Santa Monica in Youth and Adult Employment Services, Sandra found a lot of satisfaction in helping people who do need a little extra help in getting their lives on track.

“We helped youths and adults with their resumes, taught them how to find and keep jobs, and provided workshops on interviewing techniques,” she says. “My internship helped me a lot to get in touch with my community because we worked with everyone from young children to senior citizens to ‘gang bangers.’ It was great working in a non-profit environment where—everywhere along the way—somebody was always willing to give you a hand. And we always tried to give people some power over their own lives.”

Sandra reports that, “The scholarship I got as an intern is really going to help me a lot on my way to becoming a teacher.” She is majoring in Diversified Chicano Studies, “with an emphasis on bilingual education, so I can get my credential,” she says. “Teaching is a way to make a big difference,” she continues. “I see it every day when I’m at work because I actually see the end product with the children. I give them the tools and then I watch to see how much they’ve learned, how much they’ve grown, on a day to day basis. It’s a wonderful feeling.”

Read more stories from present and past years in the SMC Student Spotlight Archive.