In addition to being a mom, working two jobs, and taking a full course load at Cal State Bakersfield, Yessenia Mendoza is a soldier in the National Guard.
Guard soldiers like Mendoza respond when disaster strikes at home and can be deployed when our country needs them around the world. Mendoza recently served as a first-responder to the disastrous Montecito mudslide, helping to carry victims to safety. In a three-day search and rescue mission, Mendoza and seven fellow National Guard soldiers rescued approximately 1,800 Montecito residents.
Being in the guard means one day Mendoza may be activated as a soldier, and the next she's back in the classroom. She says this took some time to get used to, but CSU Bakersfield has the resources and support system to help her succeed.
"Starting college, I had to adjust my work, military and family life in order to fit everything in," Mendoza said. "As a first-generation college student, I had many questions, but faculty have been so helpful providing me with the guidance I need."
After college, Mendoza plans to attend graduate school with the ultimate goal of becoming a psychologist to work with either active duty military or veterans.