Meet our Students
Meet Josefina Medina
Single mother of two, Josefina Mendia has overcome many obstacles in pursuit of higher education. Born and raised in Mexico by a single mother, Josefina and her siblings were constantly moving to different cities in search of a better life. Due to her family’s economic situation and lack of stability, Josefina and her siblings were unable to go to school. At the age of nine, Josefina started elementary school. “I did not realize the difference in ages until I was fifteen and only in sixth grade,” says Josefina. Due to embarrassment about her age and education level, Josefina made the difficult decision to drop out of school and start working.
At the age of 18, Josefina moved to the United States with a sixth-grade education and limited knowledge of the English language. Her first job was at McDonalds. While working there, Josefina discovered her passion for teaching during the training sessions she coordinated. “Deep down I wanted to go back to school and become the best teacher I could be,” says Josefina. At the age of twenty-five Josefina gave birth to her first son, and eight years later her second. As her sons grew, Josefina continued to work and over time she developed carpal tunnel. Due to the debilitating condition, she was classified as disabled. “I felt like my world ended,” says Josefina.
For the next two years, Josefina and her sons lived off her savings and social assistance programs like welfare. In February of 2009, Josefina decided to take action and called the Department of Rehabilitation. The organization referred her to Vista Adult School where she took a career essentials class. While in the class, Josefina explored and developed her goals. “I got to know beautiful people that told me I was ‘college material’ and encouraged me to continue my education,” says Josefina.
This encouragement she received at gave Josefina the confidence to take the next step in her educational journey, and she applied to MiraCosta College. Since arriving at MiraCosta College in the fall semester of 2009, Josefina has excelled in her classes, receiving exemplary grades, along with official recognition of her achievements. Josefina has made the MiraCosta College President’s List three times. To be eligible for the President’s List, students must complete a minimum of 12 units within a given semester and earn a G.P.A. of at least 3.5 in the courses taken. Josefina is a member of the international honors society, Phi Theta Kappa. She has also received various scholarships, including the Staples Scholarship, Mort and Agatha Winski Scholarship for four consecutive semesters, two EOPS scholarships, and the P.E.O. (Philanthropic Educational Organization) Scholarship.
With the scholarships she has been awarded, Josefina has been able to buy books for her classes, fix her computer and car, and it has given her the confidence and motivation she needed for success as a student. “Receiving scholarships is an honor and I sincerely appreciate the help. It means a lot t me that people recognized my potential as a student. They trusted and invested in me, in my future, goals, and dreams,” says Josefina.
During her time at MiraCosta College, Josefina sought out career guidance and financial support through EOPS. She says she has received much more than expected. “The counselors and staff at EOPS are like a second family. They have provided me guidance along my educational journey and the financial and emotional support I have needed to graduate,” says Josefina.
In the fall semester of 2012 Josefina is transferring to California State University San Marcos and majoring in liberal arts. In the future Josefina hopes to earn a master’s degree in teaching and give back to MiraCosta College by one day returning as a teacher of the High School Diploma and GED (General Educational Development) programs at the Community Learning Center.
As Josefina continues her educational journey, she looks back at her time at MiraCosta College with fond memories. “MiraCosta College has shown me that I can do anything I put my mind to. Here I learned that I am special, smart, and that the college faculty and staff care for the success of their students, ” says Josefina.