USF School of Education congratulates master’s degree student, Laura Ochoa who was recently named Orgullo Hispano of Monterey County, an award of honor and recognition. (Orgullo lit. translated: pride.) Ochoa is a high school teacher of Spanish and culinary arts in Monterey County and an advisor to the National Honor Society and Debate Club. At USF, she is working toward an MA degree in International and Multicultural Education (IME) with a concentration in Human Rights Education.
Ochoa grew up in Salinas, an agricultural town, where many undocumented people come to work (her parents among them). Growing up she had few resources, but she excelled in school and went on to earn a BA from San Francisco State University in International Relations and Spanish Literature with a minor in French.
Ochoa has been greatly influenced by travel. She has taught English in South America, worked in Uganda, and through USF, joined the group of students and faculty led by IME Professor Susan Katz to work with the Achuar people and experience an English Minga in Ecuador.
Ochoa returned to Salinas to work in the community where she grew up. When asked why she believes she was chosen for this award Ochoa said, “Not many people in my community coming from a poor immigrant family succeed. Where I grew up, gangs, violence, poverty disable many people from living their dreams. It is such an honor for my family, especially my parents, being named an Orgullo Hispano. It just shows that their sacrifice and hard work paid off.”
In addition to her continuing work as a teacher and student, Ochoa will be opening a cultural center in Salinas for Latino youth. She considers her study at USF as continued preparation for her future. She is eager to write her thesis, Latinos in Education, Critical Race Theory and Testimonio and hopes to publish. Ochoa said, “I think USF is definitely helping me and encouraging me more and more to follow my dreams and what I am passionate about. It is giving me many tools to help my community and where I come from. I am so thankful for the amazing courses and professors USF has to offer.”
See the full story (in Spanish) in Paloma Revista »