BA in Integrative Studies

Christine Gonzales, 2013

Christine Gonzales

What work are you doing now?

I work at the National Education Association, in the Human and Civil Rights Department as a senior program assistant.

What do you like about it?

I love the amount of passion and commitment that my colleagues have to the development of all students across the nation.

My department is centered under advocacy and outreach to support members on topics of social justice, diversity, cultural competence, child poverty, school-to-prison pipeline, immigration reform, English language learners, LGBTQ rights, and institutional racism. I love that I get to work on short-term and long-term projects that support educators and students.

How did your degree in the college prepare you to do this work?

In my professional work, I have referred back to the following courses a number of times: my senior capstone, Social Movements and Community Activism, the Social Construction of Difference: Building Democratic Relations in a Diverse World, Leadership and Community Engagement, and even Introduction to Computing, just to name a few. What helped me to obtain my job were the relationships and experiences I gained from my experiential learning credits, internships, studying abroad, and student leadership roles. I am still actively involved in Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Inc., which has also helped me build strong professional and technical skills: time management, goal and deadline awareness, inter-personal communication, email etiquette, etc. I can also use the skills and knowledge I gain through my work at the NEA to help those around me, including educators, students, and community members.

What advice would you give current students about developing their careers?

As advice, I say, if you have an idea, go for it! Enjoy each day for its worth, stay positive, and surround yourself with allies.

Build strong relationships with your professors. As practitioners in their own fields, not only do they have wisdom beyond the confines of the course rubric, they have large networks and resources that you can tap into, only if you build relationships and ask nicely.