Maria Villanueva

Maria Villanueva

Assistant Community Director-Missions Apartments, MA in Higher Education Leadership
MA in Higher Education Leadership Ambassador


Sylmar, California

Expected Graduation Date

Spring 2018

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

Upon receiving a Master’s Degree in Higher Education Leadership, I hope to become a Community Director for Residential Life at a four-year university and work my way up to an Associate Director position. My ultimate goal is to pursue a Doctorate of Education and be a director of a Residential Life Department.

Tell us about any internships, graduate assistantships, student teaching, practicum or fieldwork you have done through SOLES. Where did you work, what did you do, and how did it impact you?

Currently, I hold a Graduate Assistantship within Residential Life as an Assistant Community Director. This position is giving me the training and experience that I need for the career I want beyond graduation both professionally and academically. As an Assistant Community Director, I supervise a staff of fourteen Resident Assistants and a total of four Residence Halls alongside a Community Director. I oversee the RAs hall programming, Hall Council, and collaborate with other campus partners.

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

Being part of SOLES has taught me more about myself as a Student Affairs professional and my own leadership practice. The program’s courses teach you different leadership practices and techniques through reflection. In addition, most of the material I am learning in the classroom, I am able to apply to my work within Residential Life.

Which class has impacted you the most? Why?

The class that has impacted me the most has been LEAD 550 – Integral Leadership Theory course, which you take your first semester in the program. The course is comprised of all SOLES students, both Masters and Doctorate students. The course challenged normal classroom settings, formal or informal authority roles, and explored different group dynamics. Although the course is over, I still find many of the material I learned in that class transition into my work setting and even in my personal life.