Labor Studies Alumni Spotlight: Citlali Espinoza, Academic Advisor at Westchester High School

by Guadalupe Guzman

1. Can you tell us more about your current position?

I am currently working with UCLA’s Destination College Advising Corps at Westchester High School as an academic advisor. As we attempt to engage with students remotely, we continue to support all of our high school seniors with the college admissions process. I host presentations on the CSUs, UCs, Private & Out of State Universities, Financial Aid, and more! With this, I also work with students one-on-one to apply to their colleges, assist them in understanding their A-G requirements, discuss their academics, review their essays and applications, and anything else related to their admission.

2. What made you want to join the labor studies program?

Although one might assume that labor studies has no relation to the education field, I believed that it was important for me to understand how students’ family lives to impact their education. Often times, our students come from low socio-economic households where their parents and other family members are working and often face systemic workplace issues.

3. What about the Labor Studies Minor had the most impact on you?

Through the Labor Studies minor, I was able to gain a lot more understanding for student’s home lives. As we have moved to remote communication with our students, I have seen the ways in which many adults are unaware of students’ access to the internet, computers, and even remote communication. Many of my students are or have parents and family members that are essential workers and the labor studies minor has helped me understand how this affects their overall educational opportunities.

4. During your time at UCLA, were you involved in any campus activities on campus or within your community?

At UCLA, I was involved with Hermanas Unidas de UCLA (HaU). HaU served as my home away from home and gave me the opportunity to meet other students who either come from very similar backgrounds to myself or very different ones. Being able to understand our circumstances and experiences with our upbringing helped cultivate my experience at UCLA because the people in this organization finally helped me understand that I belonged at UCLA and was not less than someone who grew up with more resources or opportunities.

5. Do you have any advice for graduating seniors?

My advice for graduating seniors is to do what you enjoy! Find different ways to incorporate the things you like doing or learning about in your classes/major, in any position you hold (whether it’s a job, an internship, or an on-campus org), or in your everyday life ESPECIALLY once stress levels peak! It’s so important to have at least one thing to look back at during the day that brought you joy and to remind you why you’re doing what you’re doing.