Nayeli was a single mother living in the Bay Area, with expensive living costs. She was a part-time student and found it difficult to raise her daughter and still go to college. Soon, Nayeli decided it was time for her to move to a smaller more affordable area.  Nayeli knew she wanted to receive a great education, and began looking into new places to move.  With some help from her counselor at Marin, she was introduced to Mendocino College. Before she made her decision to relocate to Ukiah, she took a summer class to get a feel for the college. It was a summer math class with Mike Padilla and Nayeli loved the experience she had.  Nayeli was then connected to Alicia Mendoza a C.A.M.P counselor, who discussed the various programs the college offered.  The decision was easy after this experience, Nayeli decided she was going to Mendocino College.

Nayeli started her journey by establishing a plan for her education. Nayeli’s big inspiration was her grandfather, as he was the first to introduce her to the medical field. Her grandfather serves as an Emergency Medical Technician in Mexico. Also during her junior year in high school Nayeli had a great opportunity to obtain her Medical Assistant Certificate and had an internship at Kaiser Permanente. Her final decision was to study in the field of science, with a focus on Allied Health. Nayeli is preparing to apply for the Nursing Program, and is currently taking all the prerequisites necessary to apply.

Nayeli has been a raising a child and working as a student worker to pay her way to acquire her degree. Nayeli was able to enroll her daughter in the Child Development Center on the Ukiah campus. This has been a great resource for Nayeli as she has been able to have her daughter so close to her while at school and at work. This program allowed Nayeli to be a full-time student while in pursuit of her degree, with reliable daycare.

Nayeli is grateful for all the support she has received from the faculty, staff and students in her last two years at Mendocino College. They have been very helpful in her success as a student. Having her daughter in “one of the best Child Development Center's” allowed her to be more comfortable knowing her daughter was only a quick walk away.

Being a new student and not knowing anyone, Nayeli took advantage of the 'Clubs Day' Mendocino has each fall semester, and joined a few clubs.  As a member of various clubs, she familiarized herself with a lot of people that  helped her become the student she is. Every summer the MESA Club, which Nayeli is a member, takes a trip to Point Arena to have a summer science campout.  It was at this event that her club mates encouraged her to be part the student government. Being part the student senate has opened up so many doors for Nayeli in her educational career. She has had the opportunity to work alongside many professionals that have unique stories and have inspired her to keep achieving her dreams.

Nayeli sees Mendocino College more than just a community college. She sees it as a second home that has helped her grow as a person, expanded her horizons, and a great place that has connected her with amazing companions. During her years at Mendocino College she has met very influential people, from students who are now faculty and staff to administrators who have guided her through.  She has truly been shown that “with persistence and perseverance there is no set limits to our potential as students.”  Nayeli wants to thank all those who have helped her grow and succeed in achieving her goals.

Nayeli is now a path to graduate from Mendocino College and transfer to Sacramento State University where she plans to get her Bachelor's of Science in Community Health Education, a concentration of their Health Science Program.  Her hope is to then eventually apply for UC Davis's Masters of Health Services program and become a part of their Physician's Assistant Degree Program as she was able to take some of the program pre-requisites here at Mendocino College.  Her goal is to one day lead a team of Health Care Professionals and serve underrepresented communities.

She leaves some advice for future students:  "Expose yourself and do things you normally would not do, be involved in student life by joining a club, and take on roles that get you out of your normal routine and allow you to open up. Get to know the staff and faculty, they are truly dedicated to students and are here to support your success. Look into all the resources that are offered to the students and use them to your benefit.  Most importantly, make sure that you make time for yourself and do the things you enjoy."

Nayeli Castaneda

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