Inspiring young Latina leaders and encouraging them to reach for college opportunities is a great way to apply a Human Service Studies degree, as well as a rewarding way to make a living, says Luisa Agathon '10.
As Program Director for North Carolina's Latin American Women's Association (LAWA), Luisa interacts with elementary and secondary school students in Charlotte through LAWA's tutoring, educational programs and college readiness workshops.
Luisa was ten when her parents emigrated from Colombia to the U.S. She traded an all-girls Catholic school for the American system, without any knowledge of English.
"Throughout my path, I've been blessed to stumble upon great individuals who have cheered and guided me on my journey," she said. "It is my hope that by sharing my story, others can relate and feel motivated to seek beyond their limits."
Coming full circle
Luisa herself benefited from an academic scholarship from LAWA and became the first member of her family to attend a university. After she graduated, LAWA recruited Luisa to help develop an education program enhancing the academic and social development of young Latinas.
Working for LAWA, Luisa has come full circle. "I'm giving back to the community that supported me," she said. The desire to give back was fostered by Queens, Luisa said.
"Queens developed my spark and interest in helping others."
- Luisa Agathon '10
In particular, her work in the Human Service Studies major taught her how to get engaged in the community.
A degree to directly help
In fact, department head Dr. Karen Neal noted Luisa was the top graduate in 2010. "Luisa brought an eagerness for learning to each class. She really polished her presentation skills, and her professional attitude was apparent from the beginning," Dr. Neal said. Now, Luisa returns to campus regularly to speak to Human Service Studies seniors in the Blair College of Health about professionalism in the field.
The major's combination of psychology and sociology appealed to Luisa. The major allowed her to work directly with people while still applying the theoretical concepts that interested her in the classroom. "It made it practical for me, so that I could go out into the community and look at programs to see how they are working," she said.
Luisa plans to pursue a master's in public administration and hopes to further develop LAWA's partnerships in the community. With further education and continued hard work, imagine what this young Latina leader will be doing by the time she's a veteran Latina leader!