Where do you work and what is your title?
Currently, I am working for Azusa Unified School District as a school psychologist. I work at an elementary school, middle school, and the district’s adult transition program.
What would you consider to be your area of expertise at this point in your career?
I spent a large portion of my first year as a school psych absorbing and learning district procedures such as the implementation and structure of special education within my district. By my second year, I began to feel a lot more comfortable in terms of shaping what I wanted my role as a school psychologist to be. Prior to beginning my career as a school psychologist, I worked with students and adults with significant behavior difficulties; naturally, I believe that behavior continued to be an area that I enjoy, even more now working directly with students at school. As a psychologist working for a public school district, there are so many different aspects to my role, from working directly with teachers on creating successful behavior plans to evaluating how and when changes to a student’s plan need to be made. I absolutely love my job and one of the reasons is that no two days are ever alike! The surprise of what you are going to walk into day by day is all part of my love for the job.
How has your work made an impact on the lives of others?
The impact that we have on others I believe is very difficult to measure, however, as a Latina working in a district and city where the majority of the surrounding communities are predominantly Latino, I feel that I have helped families better understand the world of special education. Whether it's at meetings, phone calls, or stopping and chatting with parents in the office or hallways at my sites, I make it a priority to make connections with families whenever possible.
How has your LMU education contributed to your success?
As a graduate student I often heard great praise of the school psychology program at LMU, and although I believed all the great things I was hearing, it was not apparent how prepared I was to begin my career until I started my first position as a psych. As a school psychologist you are often faced with problems that other educators have not been able to problem solve alone. This is where many of the skills I acquired at LMU come to place. One of the most important things I learned from my training at LMU is that if there is something that could improve and benefit the education and lives of the students I work with, then I need to be that change agent. With this mentality, I have helped the implementation and practice of dealing with students with moderate to severe disabilities who exhibit significant behaviors at school and many times at home as well. I’ve done various district wide trainings for student support assistants as well as special education teachers. I believe that as I move forward with my career, the training I received at LMU will constantly have a positive impact on how I shape my practice as a school psychologist.