Determined Voices Series: Carolina, Los Angeles City College Counselor

Video credit: Find Your Ally | Spanish Video Version

The Foundation of California Community Colleges’ ‘Determined Voices’ series spotlights immigrant women who have embarked on successful careers after attending California Community Colleges.

In this edition, we meet Carolina, a former Glendale Community College student who now works as a counselor and coordinator at the Dream Resource Center at Los Angeles City College.

Carolina emigrated with her family from Buenos Aires, Argentina, to Los Angeles in 2001. Her initial experience was one of complete shock, but there was an underlying excitement to “live in a place that had more promise”. Along with having to navigate a new school with an unfamiliar structure, Carolina didn’t know any English. However, attending ESL classes built her confidence and eventually widened her opportunities in and out of the classroom.

Carolina’s family history has been defined by immigration. Her great-grandparents fled the Armenian genocide of 1915; her grandmother was born in France; a grandfather was born in the United States, a fact that didn’t ease their own journey in the country despite her parents believing it would. For Carolina, immigration is “a big part of what makes me who I am.”

After arriving in the US, Carolina’s family overstayed their visas, meaning they were classed as undocumented. The status had a financial impact—her parents had to be creative in their approach to work—but it also left a deeper mark. Lacking any sense of belonging was something she internalized as she got older.

Despite these obstacles, Carolina’s love of reading helped her to learn English quickly. Her parents, spurred by an entrepreneurial hustle, managed to find work, their ethos inspiring Carolina to pursue her own goals.

She would later go on to study cultural anthropology, a decision based on her heritage and a desire to better understand herself.

With support from Michelson Philanthropies, FoundationCCC’s ‘Determined Voices’ series aims to inspire immigrant women of all ages, regardless of immigrant status, to explore higher education as a path to success.

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