Yvonne Cabrera sitting in her graduation cap in front of ASU sign

First-generation graduate pursues passion for education access

By

Hannah Moulton Belec

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of profiles for fall 2018 commencement. Read about more graduates

Yvonne Cabrera, a student from Buena Park, California, is graduating this month with a master’s degree in higher and postsecondary education from the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. As a first-generation student, her passion for promoting education and access is the driving force in her studies. After graduation she plans to make a career out of expanding access to higher education through Access ASU.

She shared some of her takeaways from her time at ASU.

Question: What was your “aha” moment, when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?

Answer: Being a first-generation student, the importance of continuing education has been a passion ever since I was young. I aspire to continue to influence and motivate younger generations who are in my position to continue their education and make a difference in their community.

Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?

A: I’ve learned the importance of networking. Being an extremely shy individual and then beginning my career at ASU, I’ve built strong relationships within my department as well as other departments to further enhance my program.

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: I chose ASU not because it is close to home but because there have always been opportunities to continue my career.

Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU? What was it and how has it helped you?

A: Dr. Kevin Correa used this wonderful metaphor about how we are all dealt a set of cards from a deck, and we have to be able to use these cards to our advantage no matter how challenging the cards may be. I have always kept this in mind when I am out in my field of work and constantly think of this when I am working with K-12, first-generation, low-income students across the Valley to assist in motivating these students to build a love and passion for education.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?

A: My best piece of advice for students still in school is that although you may be going through obstacles in school and in life, everything works out in the end.

Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?

A: My favorite spot on campus would be the ASU Art Museum.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: My plans after graduation are to continue to be a part of the Access ASU family and continue the mission to build the pipeline for our Arizona youth to pursue higher education.

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: Access to education for all.

Written by Bryan Pietsch, Sun Devil Storyteller