Susana’s Story

Susana Barraza has a plan. She has specifics and a timeline and is oozing with confidence that it will happen. She wants to gain experience in Washington D.C. (where she interned with the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute), reach the PhD level, return back home, and run for public office.

Susana’s plan is especially remarkable because when she (barely) graduated from high school, she had no plan at all. She’s the eldest in an income insecure immigrant family, and her parents expected her to work after high school. She entertained the idea of community college only because her best friend was going, so she enrolled at Sacramento City College (SCC).

Susana’s ambitions changed when she was selected to attend the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities’ (HACU) Capitol Forum as an SCC representative. Each spring, SCC students at this forum lobby their elected Congressional representatives hoping to shape and promote future legislation that will benefit all students, particularly those in underserved communities. SCC is the only campus in the region to expose students to these opportunities.

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Attending the HACU Capitol Forum changed Susana’s view of what she could dream and even impacted her entire family. Susana understands now that growing up in an immigrant household doesn’t predispose her to the types of jobs her parents have, and she is worthy of the opportunities offered to anyone with an education.

Now that she has her AS in Business Administration from SCC and a degree in economics at Sac State, Susana is giving back at SCC. She is working with the HSI-STEM Equity and Success Initiative Project, a federal grant made available to recognized, Hispanic-serving institutions. Her job now is to support/mentor underserved and low-income students in school by being an advocate for them and an advocate for equity.

Through education, Susana learned that her voice can be heard, and she can advocate for herself, her family and her community. Barraza for Congress? Why not?

Being able to have access to education has given me opportunities I would have never imagined.

– Susana Barraza, Sacramento City College

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