We were delighted to have PBSC student Sara Murillo as a guest speaker. Sara is a first-generation student to go to college in her family. She came from Colombia to the US when she was eight years old. She found that the best way to learn English was to look at a cartoon channel broadcast in English and then flip to the same channel that was broadcast in Spanish: “Oh, that’s what they mean.”
She found it difficult to assimilate into the US because she didn’t understand the culture. Here, there is great value placed on punctuality and individuality which was not the case in Colombia. She also found the society here ‘pleasant’ and kind compared to Colombia. She found everything was organized and very clean everywhere.
She got interested in Education as a career when she was inspired by her teachers. She admired educators as a profession and at first wanted to become a teacher but eventually realized that she could be of more assistance to millions of teachers by working on education policy. She is particularly interested in education policies associated with early childhood development, i.e. pre-school.
She was awarded a full-ride scholarship at PBSC and has maintained above a 3.5 GPA during her tenure there. Sara shared that it was particularly hard on her to deal with learning during the pandemic. She has felt a lack of connection to fellow students and faculty since all her classes were given online.
Sara recently led PBSC students in an effort to help the faculty. There was a ‘No Confidence’ vote by the faculty against PBSC President Ava Parker. The Professors found out they were getting lower wages than other state colleges while the staff and administration were all getting raises. Sara felt that it was not right that PBSC professors were not being paid equitable wages. She obtained 50 student signatures and wrote a letter to President Parker asking her to address this inequality. She is waiting to have a meeting with her and hopes that she can positively affect change in this unfair policy.
Sara is now applying to a number of universities (including UCLA, Georgetown and Stanford) that have strong majors in education and public policy. She wants to help millions of kids with better education. She feels that good education policy drives success both for the teachers and students. After graduating in two years, she wants to go to graduate school which she feels is important to give her the credentials to drive policy making decisions at the state and national level.
Sara closed by saying how fortunate she is to have all of her education paid through scholarships and grants. She thanked Dr. Gerry Purdy for being her mentor. Upon graduation, she will end up debt free which is very special.