ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: Adriana Melgoza
A service-learning placement has turned into a career for Adriana Melgoza (HCOM, ’10).
When a representative of the Watsonville Law Center visited one of her classes to talk about equal access to justice for low-income communities, “I knew I wanted to be a part of it,” Melgoza said. “My passion is to help people in need and to be involved in improving our community.”
Her placement started in 2009, and she excelled to the point that she earned the Human Communication Service Learning award the next year. Her work involved interviewing clients and working side-by-side with attorneys. “I became aware of so many issues that affect our communities,” she said.
After graduation, the center hired her to be its legal clinic coordinator. Her duties include recruiting volunteers.
“Having been a volunteer myself helps me understand the problems our community faces and how volunteers can help achieve WLC’s mission,” she said. “It was as a Service Learner that I learned the skills I now use every day.”
Her service learning days are behind her, but she continues to serve. “I work in social justice because I believe in recognizing the dignity of every person,” she said.
And she credits CSUMB with helping her identify her values and goals.
“CSUMB has shaped who I am in many ways. Professors helped me understand what I really wanted for my life. The classes motivated me to continue with my passions.”
She has also put her skills to use by organizing a parent support group – Unidos Por un Corazón Inocente – for families of children with disabilities.
“Our mission is to provide support, education and training to parents, caregivers and families; for agencies to work with parents and children; and to advocate for the services our families need,” she said.
“I learned how to do this at the university.” She hopes to refine those skills by attending law school in a few years.
These days, she trains new Service Learners at the law center, and encourages the high school students who help with the parent group to consider attending the university.
“I love CSUMB,” she said.