Cristina Herediacristina-heredia

’16 Early Childhood Studies major, Developmental Psychology minor

By Stephanie Villafuerte
English major, Communication minor
Communication & Marketing Intern

Cristina Heredia grew up in the small town of Somis,CA where everyone knew everyone. It was a setting she continues to love years after moving away.

“The tranquility, the open space, friendships, memories––I would love to go back someday,” she said.

It was the quiet, yet vibrant hometown that motivated her to attend CSUCI. She also wanted to make her parents proud as a first-generation student.

“For as long as I can remember, my parents always told me ‘Echale ganas al estudio!’ (‘Give it your all in your studies!)” Heredia said.

The alumna majored in Early Childhood Studies with a minor in Developmental Psychology. From class discussions to one-on-one conversations, Heredia discovered faculty who prepared her for real life. She remembers Education Lecturer Darrell Forthe as the most impactful.

“He motivated and taught me that there’s many ways of reaching out and helping others,” Heredia said.

For her senior year service-learning project, she was a student teacher for primary and middle school classes. It was an experience that left her appreciative of educators and the work they do.

“The dedication, the patience, it was all so eye-opening.”

After graduating with her B.A. in 2016, Heredia began working at Cabrillo Economic Development Corporation (CEDC). When a friend explained what the nonprofit organization was and what their goals were, she realized it was exactly what was she was looking for.

“I was in love immediately with the organization. I wanted to help residents and make an impact on their lives. I wanted to help them strive,” Heredia said.

As resident manager at CEDC, Heredia is in charge of properties, collecting rent and handling debt, as well as overseeing maintenance technicians.

And aside from using her classroom experience to communicate with families, Heredia incorporates her own personal life into her work.

“I realized I was once in the same shoes as my young residents. My parents would receive the same resources I gave them. I was first generation, I had difficulties of not knowing where to get help. I see myself in these children and now I’m giving back.”

Heredia lists off the special moments of her job, such as the faces of excitement and appreciation families have when they see their new home after living in inadequate areas for years. She admires the special times they share.

“It’s the best part; the gratitude that they share with me, the faces of the children smiling, laughing, enjoying the moment,” she explained.

Heredia plans to become a high school biology teacher and to continue working for nonprofits like CEDC.

She gives encouraging advice to those interested in her field:

“Get as much experience as possible. It is tiring, but it can be done. It will give you an appreciation for the hard work that you and teachers do. But the smiles of the students are the best reward. Do not give up on your goals.”

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