Andrea Reyes

MA in Higher Education Leadership

About Me

My hometown is Encinitas, CA. I began my program in fall of 2015 and plan to graduate spring of 2017. In regards to higher education, I have a background mostly in orientation and residential life. I have worked at the University of California, Irvine where I also obtained my undergraduate degree in Psychology & Social Behavior. 

Before pursuing my undergraduate degree, I tutored middle and high school students in math and writing. In addition to that, I was highly involved in the FIRST Robotics program at my local high school. 

How did you hear about SOLES, and why did you choose to enroll?

My mentor’s partner got their higher education degree from the University of San Diego! So while I was applying for graduate programs, I had an informational interview with them and was intrigued by how unique it was. I ended up applying and interviewing for a graduate assistantship! I chose the University of San Diego because it offered my dream assistantship: working at the Women’s Center!

Are you currently working? If so, do you work full-time, part time, and what do you do?

I work part-time at University of San Diego's Women’s Center as a graduate assistant. I advise students around three core themes: identity development, gender exploration and leadership. Specifically, I organize the EMPOWER Women’s Leadership retreat and, along with my student staff, we organize programs such Take Back the Night, the Women of Impact luncheon and the Red Flag Campaign. Our Women’s Center focuses on feminist leadership, action and values. 

Have you completed an international experience? What did you do?

Just this January I went to Sri Lanka for two and a half weeks with 9 other masters students from SOLES. We had a full-emersion experience, living with families in a village in Polonnaruwa. There we were able to observe and experience a unique type of leadership grounded in Buddhist thought. We also were able to visit cities and historical sites such as Colombo, Kandy, Dambulla and Sigiriya. 

How has your SOLES education impacted your career and/or career goals?

Being a part of SOLES has actually made me consider bigger career ideas and career moves. I feel very empowered because of my supervisor, Erin Lovette-Colyer, and my advisor, Dr. Cheryl Getz.  Faculty and staff really make the effort and care for their students.

What do you hope to do with your degree and/or credential, and why?

To better myself in making love visible for the students and staff members I work with. The most important part of my career is to demonstrate to students that they are loved and that they matter. 
Specifically, I hope to serve incoming students through orientation or serve first-year students in residential life.

Which class has impacted you the most? Why?

I’ve only been in the program for one full semester, but a class I know I will never forget is the Leadership 550 course. I really appreciate the SOLES emphasis on leadership. I know that term is in the name of SOLES- but the faculty, administration and staff is not kidding when they say the University of San Diego takes pride in how it analyzes and critiques leadership. How I view leadership action in myself and in others has completely stretched in positive and productive ways. It has all been a really a special experience of self-work. 

Are there specific SOLES faculty, staff or administrators you feel have contributed significantly to your success? How have they helped?

Dr. Cheryl Getz, the way she leads, listens and carries a conversation is with warmth and attentiveness. She is very present with her students and is transparent and open with herself to us.  Cheryl is a fantastic role model and is cherished by many. Cheryl is actually the person who really affirmed for me that Sri Lanka was the best international program for me.

Is there anything specific you would like to share with prospective students?

Graduate programs are quite the adventure! With all adventures, it’s nice to take a rest somewhere or retreat home when you can to rejuvenate. If you feel that the University of San Diego can be a home for you- definitely take some time and reflect and sit with that. Education is an education, but finding an education that feels like home is a true gift you can give to yourself.