TRIO student selected for Global Leaders program

This summer, Jesus Garcia-Valdez will find himself in Spain, his first trip outside of North America.

Insert a description of the image here.The sophomore from Gonzales is one of 20 students nationwide selected for the Keith Sherin Global Leaders program, named for an executive with the General Electric Co. A scholarship will help pay for the trip.

Garcia-Valdez will spend the month of June in intensive study of Spanish language and culture at the Pontifical University in Salamanca and will earn college credit toward his degree in business administration.

He chose to live in a residence hall with other international students rather than live with a family. “I would like to learn more about the other students’ backgrounds and I would like to compare CSUMB’s learning environment to that of Spain’s,” he said.

Garcia-Valdez’s family came to the U.S. from Mexico when he was 10. Since then, he’s made yearly trips home to visit relatives and friends. While he already speaks Spanish, he wants to perfect his skills. “And I would like to learn more about my own culture, but from a different perspective,” he said. “I would like to know what their traditions are.”

He expects the experience will help him become more open to other cultures and customs. “What I hope to learn is how other cultures differ from my own,” he said.

Garcia-Valdez is a student in CSUMB’s TRIO Student Support Services program,
which provides supplemental tutoring, advising, counseling and other help to first generation, low-income college students. The aim of the program is to help students stay in school and graduate.

He works as a peer mentor for Educational Talent Search, a TRIO program aimed at low-income and first-generation high school students. It’s his way of “giving back to my local community,” he said. ETS helps students graduate from high school and get accepted to the college or university of their choice.

“I hope my experience serves as a motivation to other Latino first-generation students so they take advantage of the opportunities that are offered to us,” Garcia-Valdez said.

Learn about early outreach and support programs at CSUMB.

Photo: Jesus Garcia-Valdez and Monte Rey during CSUMB's annual open house