Peer Mentor, Upward Bound ProgramSonoma State University
The Sonoma County Upward Bound program helped Lucero Alvarez Vieyra as a high school sophomore realize college was an option. But she struggled to balance motherhood, school and work—and even faced homelessness in her first years in college. But advisers and professors helped ensure a path to graduation and encouraged her to join a club or activity. She followed their advice and became a paid peer mentor. In this role, she helped and comforted students who felt as unsettled as she once did. “I know how it feels to be completely lost in the college world,” Alvarez Vieyra says. “The CSU has impacted me in the most positive ways. I have the support I needed to overcome the challenges I faced.” She is the first in her family to earn a degree, and she aspires to apply her biochemistry degree to become a medical researcher.