MichelleName: Michelle Villegas
What year did you graduate and what was your major/minor?: Graduated 2012, majored in Chicana/o Studies and Psychology and minored in Global and  International Studies
What’s your current occupation? I am working with the Yolo Family Resource Center as their Youth and Parent Engagement Specialist

   How does your Chicana/o Studies knowledge intertwine with your current field of work or projects you have worked on?
     I feel as if I used what I learned through out my years in Chicana/o Studies every day at my current occupation.  I am constantly analyzing the educational system of the students I work with, their home environments, and neighborhoods, as I plan ways to enrich their experiences while in high school and empower them to develop their identities and consciousness.

    What was your favorite part about the Chicana/o Studies Department or being a Chicana/o Studies major at UC Davis?
My favorite part about being involved with the Chicana/o Studies Dept. and being a major was that I felt like I had a real ownership over my education.  Despite the fact that there were other issues I wish we could have learned about, I felt that I could ask questions and provoke discussion in ways that I couldn’t in other classes.  Not to mention the fact that I felt that I was part of something larger by being involved with Chicana/o Studies and that if I ever needed support or help, I knew I could find it there. It was much more than a major- it was a community.

          Why should students take Chicana/o Studies courses?
    Students should take Chicana/o Studies courses because they are a rare opportunity in the academic setting.  There are not many times within your undergraduate career that you’ll have an opportunity to apply what you’re learning in your classroom to yourself, your family, and your community.  Being a student is such a special experience, and being a Chicana/o studies student is even more special; you have the chance to shape the future of the field because you ARE the field! If you want to contribute something to society to improve the situation of our struggling communities, take these courses and think critically about how you can apply them to whatever other field you may want to work in. Chicana/o Studies ties into everything because it is the study of a community and that will never go out of style or be irrelevant.

            What do you find most satisfying about your current occupation?
What I find most satisfying is that I can share knowledge with the youth I work with in a day to day basis, whether it be in casual conversation or in a formal workshop setting.  I get to assist families in navigating systems that are not meant to be accessible to them, and I can see how my assistance makes the difference between them being successful and encountering obstacles, it is very eye opening. I can see the impact my work has on this community of students who enjoy learning about various cultural, social, and political issues, and engage them in talks that they would not have otherwise in their classrooms or at home.  It is so rewarding and the stress is almost nonexistent. On top of that, I can continue to pursue my own endeavors and feel motivated by my own students who encourage me to study for the LSAT and want me to accomplish my dreams. It is amazing! J

     Can students contact you as a resource/mentor? Definitely!
Contact information:  mvillegas@ucdavis.edu, 818.312.4056