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Wednesday, December 6, 2023

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Priscilla Silva Priscilla Silva

Carrying a Distinction with Pride

SDSU Imperial Valley holds a special place in Priscilla Silva's heart.
By SDSU News Team

Hailing from the Imperial Valley, Priscilla Silva is ready to take the next step, but she will fondly remember her years at San Diego State University Imperial Valley. The liberal studies major is a first-generation college student and only the second member of her family to graduate from college, a distinction she carries with pride. 

In the days leading up to her graduation, Silva spoke with SDSU NewsCenter about her college experience and what is in store for her after graduation.

What does it mean to you to be part of the first generation of your family to attend and graduate from college? 

Being a first-generation student meant I had to step out of my comfort zone, overcome many challenges and do something that I’ve never seen my parents do before. I am thankful I get to be a part of the first generation and share this honor with my family. Not only is this degree for me, but for my parents as well. My parents didn’t get the chance to go to college, but they worked hard to make sure that I did. They are truly my inspiration. This journey was not easy, but now that I have completed my bachelor’s degree, I feel like I can accomplish anything. 

How did being involved in campus activities help shape your SDSU experience?

I was fortunate enough to serve as senator for the Associated Students of Imperial Valley and president for the Aztecs Around the World student organization. Through these experiences, I was able to advocate for our students' voices and host educational events. One of my memorable events was the Chicanx Empowerment Talk with the Latinx Resource Center, and our Drive-Thru Welcome Back. Through these events, I was able to engage with many students, staff, and faculty even in times of social distancing or teleworking/online formats. I am thankful I got involved in these campus activities because I got the opportunity to create lifelong friendships and connections that contributed to my educational pathway.
What was your most memorable community service experience?

I would have to say when several classmates and I held a Drive-Thru Donation event in collaboration with a local non-profit organization, Cody’s Closet (Heather White), in the Imperial Valley. Many people from all over the Imperial Valley were able to stop by and drop off donations at our event such as clothes, hygiene products, canned goodsand school supplies. I was in shock at how many donations we were able to obtain, and I am grateful that we were able to work together as a community to give back to those needing assistance in the Imperial Valley.

You were recently hired as a research assistant for SDSU Imperial Valley Dean of Academic Affairs Mark Wheeler. What type of work are you doing and how are you enjoying it?

Working as a research assistant alongside Dr. Wheeler and the Imperial Valley Social Justice Committee is truly an honor. As a researcher, I am working on two projects which are called the Imperial Valley Social Justice Committee Needs Assessment and the Deep Roots Project. The Imperial Valley Social Justice Committee Needs Assessment focuses on the African American community and other co-cultures that have been disenfranchised communities in the Imperial Valley. My area of focus is in education where I have collected quantitative data and original research in Imperial County’s K-12 school districts on students and administrators. The Deep Roots Project involves the voices of the Black Community telling their own personal stories living in Imperial County. As a Chicana and Imperial Valley native, I am truly involved in this research because of the character of making our borderland community aware of how many ethnic disadvantages we have compared to other counties.  
What are your next steps after graduation and how do you feel SDSU IV has prepared you for them? 

After graduating, I will be one step closer to my dream of becoming a school counselor. “Once an Aztec, Always an Aztec” is a quote that truly stuck to my heart because I will be moving to San Diego to continue my education at SDSU, but now one step bigger with starting the program of M.S. School Counseling with PPS Credential program this fall. SDSU Imperial Valley has prepared me by always supporting me in my education education and giving me a homelike sense of inclusion while being on campus. The SDSU Imperial Valley professors, faculty, and community has always made me feel like I was meant to be here. Certainly, I will miss the IV campus so much, but I look forward to meeting a new SDSU campus and embracing it as my new home for the next two years.