Jasmine Altamirano is a 2021 graduate from Portland, Ore. She has earned a Master of Science in Education: Curriculum and Instruction, plus a minor in ESOL Education.
What has your experience been like as a first-generation student?
I feel a lot of pride in saying that I am the first person in my family to graduate from college with a bachelor’s and master’s degree. Part of my college experience was overcoming some challenges as a first-generation student. I remember trying to learn how to navigate college when I started at WOU because there wasn’t anyone in my family who I could turn to for advice. It wasn’t until the middle of my freshman year that I learned about all the on-campus resources and programs that were available to support me. For example, the Service Learning & Career Development, scholarships, the Student Success and Advising office, friends, and my professors. My experience as a first-generation student taught me that it is okay to ask and look for help when you need it.
What has been your favorite annual event at WOU?
My favorite annual event at WOU was the Holiday Tree Lighting because of the community traditions and all the festivities. I enjoyed the live music, the cookie decorating, and people from different cultures sharing how they celebrate the holidays during that time of the year. One of my favorite parts of the event was watching the light parade go through campus while drinking hot chocolate with friends. After the parade, everyone gathered on-campus near the giant sequoia to do the annual tree lighting countdown. Since the Holiday Tree Lighting was near the end of the term, it was always a fun event because it happened during a busy time of the term.
What have some of your extracurriculars been? How did those impact your time on campus?
Some of the extracurriculars that I have been a part of are the WOU Food Pantry, the Multicultural Student Services and Programs, the Peer Mentor program, César E. Chávez Leadership Conferences, and hall government. I think all of these extracurriculars impacted my time on campus because I got to discover my leadership potential and make connections with a diverse group of people. I’ve also worked as a graduate assistant for the undergraduate teacher education program for the past two years. I have enjoyed working as a grad assistant because I got to work with some amazing professors whose classes I took in the education program myself. They all have been so supportive in my journey becoming a teacher and have been such amazing people to work with.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned throughout your time at WOU?
I think the biggest lesson I learned from my time at WOU was learning to open myself up to new experiences. I remember feeling mixed emotions when I moved to campus right after high school because I was finally on my own. I felt so excited yet nervous because I was living in a place where everything was new to me. I decided to make my transition easier by getting involved with the community, exploring new interests, and meeting new people. I joined different clubs and organizations to get a break from school work and gain a sense of belonging. I know that my time at WOU would have been much different if I did not seek out opportunities to put myself out there.
What has been your most memorable class?
My most memorable class was taking Elementary Social Studies Methods with Shirley Lomax. She is such an amazing professor who cares about meeting the needs of all her students. She would go out of her way to bring hot dinners to each class. I remember she surprised my class with pizza delivered to our classroom on the first day of class. She taught me the importance of nurturing and caring for students by giving the class potted plants to care for during the term. Shirley had a passion for social studies that everyone could see. She taught me how to make social studies purposeful and engaging for elementary students. I feel lucky that I experienced a memorable class and professor.
What was your most visited spot on campus? Why?
My most visited spot on campus was in the Hamersley Library near The Press coffee shop. It was a fun spot to hang out in between classes, eat lunch with friends, or grab a coffee after class.
What are your plans for after graduation?
My plan after graduation is to teach fifth grade in the Corvallis School District this upcoming school year!