Chantal Hernandez

MA in Higher Education Leadership

Hometown

San Diego, California

Expected Graduation Date

Spring 2018

What do you hope to do with your degree and why?

I hope to work in advising, specifically working with underrepresented students or working in the TRIO programs, like student support services. I would like to serve in these areas because of the great need there is for this population of students that are not aware of the many resources that are available for them. Coming from a similar background I understand the barriers in higher education and how easy it can be to fall behind. If I can be a resource for this group of students to ensure they have academic success and achievement, then my degree would have paid off.

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

I first heard about SOLES through doing research about different graduate programs when first thinking about pursuing a master’s degree. I was also very lucky in the fact that I had a co-worker that was a current student in the higher education leadership program I was interested in. I also had another current student that I was connected with through a professor of mine. I met and heard the student experience from them and learned about the different opportunities this program had and how highly they spoke about the faculty and their advisors. From listening to their experiences, there were different things that helped me in deciding to enroll. The international experience requirement interested me very much because of how much I value diversity, the mixed class structure with students from other SOLES graduate programs I found very helpful, and the positive feedback I heard about faculty made me feel like I would be supported.

Which class has impacted you the most? Why?

The Making Meaning of the Collegiate Experience class has impacted me the most so far. The instructor I had, Jeff Bolster, ensured that the class had discussions on topics and issues that would make us critically think and connect it back to our own experiences. It was a class where I felt supported by the instructor and by the class through what we covered. The everyday situations that Jeff shared from his work added to the meaning part of the class. Listening to these situations allowed me to think of different ways to approach them and be able to reflect on my ideas and my struggles as well. It was overall a class I looked forward to going to and has been my favorite class so far.

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

I would just like to give some advice. If you are still not sure about SOLES, be sure to get information from different sources to give you a well-rounded perspective. Reach out to current students to learn more because they will know a lot of different aspects of the SOLES experience. Their stories will be very helpful in deciding your future plans and will help you connect with a side that faculty and administrators don’t always see.