Q: Please tell me a little about yourself and what you do now.
Lupe: I went to San Diego State for my master's. I moved to Nevada to be part of the Teach For America project with AmeriCorps and then moved back to Ohio because this is where my future husband was going to be working. I am now married with a son who is almost two and we have one on the way. I am also a student at Texas Tech studying Educational Policy and Leadership working on my Ph.D.
Q: Did you always know this (current job) is what you wanted to do? If not, when did you decide?
Lupe: No. It’s far from what I wanted to become. It was about halfway through my master's degree when I realized I wanted to teach. And then I decided to do the Nevada Teacher Corps with AmeriCorps. I loved it, but now I am on a slightly different track to teach at the college level and work on publications. So, teaching was not in my plans. I actually wanted to minor in medicine and go to medical school, but I ended up in a Biology class at OSU and I was miserable. Don’t get me wrong, I did fine at OSU, but I realized that med school wasn’t for me. I finished undergrad and got my masters in Liberal Arts & Sciences so I could explore topics that were more of interest to me. That’s when I realized that education is what I wanted to do.
Q: Do you remember the Metro Habits? Do you ever think about them today?
Lupe: Oh wow, I actually glanced at them a couple of months ago for something I was doing for my schooling. Let’s see, engaged learner, collaborator, inquiry…communicator!
Q: When you attended Metro, it was a new program. What are some of your favorite memories?
Lupe: I don’t think it was my favorite memory at the time, but I tell my husband about it now. It was the trash dig that we did for a project called “Garbology.” I say that because, when else in your lifetime are you going to go dig through trash and learn about recycling, composting and what not? The other memory was with Dr. Bruening doing CAD. I remember this because I'm married to an engineer now!
The trips we took were also very memorable. We went to the Florida Keys and learned about the ecosystems. We went to Stone Lab. Those experiences helped to inform my selection of Ed. Policy & Leadership. My research focuses a lot on low income minority students, mostly Spanish speaking because I speak Spanish. I feel like a lot of those experiences at Metro were things that my friends who went to Dublin, Upper Arlington and Bexley could afford to do, but I would not have been able to afford them.
Q: Did you develop friendships with people at Metro that you might not have otherwise connected with? Are those ongoing?
Lupe: I have several friends that I still keep in touch with that I 100% would not have met if it had not been for Metro. They lived in many different areas that I did not have access to then.
Q: Did you participate in a pathway like Bodies or Growth? What was that experience like?
Lupe: I did a learning center at Franklin Park Conservatory. It focused on plants and the environment, and I did an internship there teaching little ones. I probably should have realized then that I wanted to teach! While at Franklin Park, we loved doing the tours for younger age groups and learning about the science of the park. It’s similar to what I do now in that the context is educational but the background is science-based. We do a lot of statistical analysis while preparing to present for IRBs.
Q: What is the most important thing you learned in high school?
Lupe: Well let’s see, critical thinking, or thinking independently and a strong work ethic are the top two. This is especially true when I think about being in school now.
Q: In what ways did Metro help to prepare you for what you are doing now?
Lupe: Doing well at Metro helped remove the burden of not knowing if I could afford to stay in college for four years. My mother was a single parent and we lived in low income housing, so I knew I needed to succeed here because I wasn’t going to be able to afford college. Metro helped me apply for scholarships and I was awarded several. Once I got to college, I realized that I could be there for four years. I could slow down and enjoy the process. When I got my masters degree, I had additional fellowships, and now with my Ph.D, I received other scholarships and fellowships and was allowed to pay instate fees. That again has afforded me options so I don’t have to feel like I need to rush. Metro taught me how to apply for scholarships, and that has been a great benefit to me.
Q: What advice would you give to students at Metro who may want to follow in your footsteps?
Lupe: I feel like mastering the Metro habits sets you apart when you take courses at OSU. I remember being in my junior year and I was in a writing course. I was asked by a professor to meet after class. My first thought was, “oh my goodness my paper is horrible,” but the professor said it was one of the best. He also asked why I had a mark beside my name on his roster. I had to tell him it was because I was a high school student. Imagine his shock!
So mastering the habits really sets you apart, not just for basic classes but for further ahead in life. If you master them, then it’s a habit and you don’t have to think about it. I would also say, take advantage of the opportunities that are offered. Just explore whatever interests you; this may be one of the only times in your life where you can explore and not have so many worries. Don’t rush! If you have goals and are making adequate progress to reach them, don’t be in a hurry!