#VAGASwithDegrees Week 2

@HerVAGAboundRoots presents #VAGASwithDegrees Week 2!

"I'm graduating with my Bachelors of Sociology and this degree isn't only for me but it's for my sisters. I want them to see that you can do anything you can dream and they can do so much more than I ever have because I've paved the way. Most importantly I did this for the person most influential in my life, my mom. My mom had me at the age of 16 and let me tell you we have gone through a lot. We have conquered several struggles and through it all she has taught me to never give up. It was the two of us against the world and even today when I am with her I feel like we are unstoppable. I'm always amazed, because here I am barely dealing with myself and when she was my age, my mom had established a life not only for herself, but for me as well. She always did everything in her power to give me the best. How could I ever repay her? I don't think I'll ever be able to, but this degree is one step closer to achieving that goal. She reassures me everyday that there's nothing I can't accomplish. It's been a long time coming working full time and taking up to six classes a semester. It was tough! But I did it, sometimes with tears in my eyes, but I pushed through. I want to encourage everyone else to do so as well. Our parents go through so much to give us a better life, we can't let that opportunity go to waste. Both of my parents are immigrants and my dad has told me so many times that we are so lucky to have all of these resources at our disposal, it would be ridiculous if we didn't take advantage of it. He says, "Ponte las pilas, si no vas a andar limpiando baños toda tu vida, eso es lo que quieres?" I don't. I have done my fair share of cleaning after someone else, and I would love nothing better than to be able to support both of my parents financially and have them not clean another restroom again. Next on my list is getting into Law School. Being an attorney has always been one of my life long goals and within the next year I plan on taking the LSAT to apply. We need more Latinas in the field, and I plan on being one bad-ass attorney!"

-Vanelly Flores

Bachelor of Arts in Sociology

Cal State University, Los Angeles


"Soy Mujer

Soy Latina

Soy Veterana Militar

Soy Hija de immigrantes

I am a Woman

I am a Latina

I am a U.S. Navy Veteran

I am the daughter of immigrants

We are living in times where many of the facts listed above about myself, can be interpreted as all odds against me. Throughout history one or all of those odds have existed and will continue to exist, unfortunately. I made the choice to change the views, statistics, and/or stigmas about all of those circumstances and make them positive ones. I am a resilient and strong woman like my Mother, my Grandmother, Aunts, and other inspiring women that have paved the way for me to accomplish all that I have and will continue to strive for. I did things in a non-traditional way, perhaps somewhat backwards. I joined the military, served for 12 honorable years, then decided to pursue higher education. I wouldn't have it any other way! Extremely proud to be where I am today. Proud to be a Latina, Veteran Woman, and a college graduate. To hear my family say that they are proud of me and that I have accomplished far more than they ever dreamed of has made this entire journey worth it! Next month I start my Master's program at USC and you better believe, Dr. Cristina in the near future after that! Thank you God for the constant blessings! Never have I, nor will I take any of it for granted! Si Se puede!"

-Cristina Bermudez


"Like most immigrants, my parents came to this country for a better life. But for immigrants and people of color in the U.S., it's hardly better than what was left behind. My parents worked their asses off, more than anyone I know. They came from nothing, literally had nothing, yet never showed me or my sister how much they struggled. Getting through school and seeking higher education was as much of an achievement for them, as it was for me. It shows that all they've sacrificed was worth it. My mom’s fiery passion and my dads heart of gold made me who I am today - it was destined that I become a social worker."

-Carolyn Almonte

Master of Social Work

New York University - Silver School of Social Work


"My community is what motivated me to pursue a degree in social work. I have seen the oppression experienced in marginalized communities and want to make a difference in a city I grew up in. With this degree I hope to continue work in the mental health field and advocate for social justice. I would like to work with at risk youth in the San Fernando Valley and work towards a more inclusive community that recognizes the specialized needs of its members."

-Stephanie Davis

Master of Social Work

California State University Northridge


"As I was studying psychology during my undergraduate career, I knew something was off. I took a social work class and realized what it was. There is so much focus on the mind, that the person as a whole and their environment, is completely forgotten. After that realization, I changed my major to social work. I continued on to my masters because I did not feel ready to serve the population I was interested in.

I did not learn how to hone in on the skills I acquired during college and use them in my OWN way! After graduating from Silver, I don't think I know it all, however I feel READY! I love forensic social work and hope to work in this field with the criminal justice involved population! Someday, I also hope to create a mentorship/ psychoeducational program and group for young girls of Color!"

-Nia I. McFarland- Drye

Master of Social Work

New York University – Silver School of Social Work


"My name is Jasmine Esparza and I am graduating from California State University, Northridge. I will be receiving my BA in Psychology and minor in Child and Adolescent Development. As a child, school has always been my passion and I knew that I wanted to go as far as God would allow me to go. Pursuing a psychology degree made me more aware of the importance of mental health and I became so fascinated with the brain. I added a minor in Child and Adolescent Development because I've always had a genuine love for working with children. I always hope to make a difference in their lives because they are our future generation! I plan to continue school and become a doctor. My dream career would be to help my community and be there for those who are in their worst of times and their best of times. I plan to go beyond for my patients and show them the love that God has shown me. I hope to encourage those to follow their dreams whether they come from a low income family, parents who were immigrants, first generation college student, etc. like I was because anything is possible through Christ! #sisepuede"

-Jasmine Esparza

Bachelors in Psychology and minor in Child and Adolescent Development

California State University, Northridge


Check this weeks upcoming posts on instagram @hervagaboundroots! Thank so much for all of your support thus far.



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