The nine colleges of the Los Angeles Community College District are some of the most important institutions in our region. Educating over 200,000 students – half of whom live in poverty – they provide one of the clearest pathways to economic independence and a chance at a better life. I know this is true because that is exactly what community college did for me.
I am a first-generation college graduate. Neither of my parents finished college, but they instilled the value of higher education in me when I was young. After high school, I attended West Valley College in Saratoga with the dream of transferring to a University of California campus. I know this same dream is shared by thousands of students currently enrolled in Los Angeles’s community colleges.
With a lot of hard work, my dream became a reality when I was accepted as a transfer student to UCLA and was offered a spot in transfer student housing. Housing in Westwood has always been expensive, but I was able to cover my living expenses by working part-time while studying. I was grateful for the stability and resources that student housing provided me. It set me up for success.
I went on to earn an M.A. in Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, where I studied the intersection of education and media, specifically the ways in which media affects young people and educational systems. Two years ago, I earned an M.S. in Predictive Analytics from Northwestern University via an online distance learning platform. My focus on data science and related research methods allows me to look at the world in a unique way and analyze how it can change for the better.
Today, I am a senior executive in the entertainment industry with a husband and two young children, and I owe it all to the start I got at West Valley College. I am living a life I never dreamed possible when I was a student. Now, I want to use everything I have learned over the past twenty years to help Los Angeles's community college students reach their full potential.
To best help today's community college students, we must recognize that the world they live in is much different than the world of the 1990s and early 2000s. We also have to acknowledge the world is changing at an increasingly rapid pace. For example, it's been estimated that nearly half of the expected jobs in 2035 haven’t been invented yet. We have to prepare for a future we cannot see.
In order to meet today’s reality, our colleges need to focus on the whole student. Nearly two-thirds of the District’s students experience food insecurity, and over half have struggled with housing insecurity. Despite efforts to address these issues, they are still massive weights that drag students down and are impediments to success.
In order to prepare for our future, the District needs to create more partnerships and connections to the jobs and industries that will propel our region forward. I have worked in Hollywood for nearly twenty years, but it is rare to meet someone else with a community college background in the executive suites. And yet the entertainment industry is one of the largest employers in Los Angeles!
Hollywood is just beginning to grapple with some of the inequities and inequalities baked into the current system, and I want to be a bridge between the brilliant students in our community colleges and industry leaders and professionals at all levels.
While many of us have been horrified by the outright corruption and sheer ineptitude that Donald Trump’s presidency have unleashed on our nation, the reality is that these issues plague us here in L.A. too. The Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees – like many other public bodies in L.A. – is mired in issues related to cronyism and corruption that have led to unnecessary lawsuits, an FBI investigation, and whistleblower complaints. The Board's malfeasance hurts the students, faculty and staff they are meant to serve and that ultimately affects us all.
To truly fight back against Donald Trump and the undemocratic tendencies he has inspired, we must make our own local government agencies work again, and that is why I am running for the Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees, Seat No. 3. I would be honored to have your support.