Lisandra Aguirre

Lisandra AguirreEveryone working on their BA has a reason to keep after that degree. For Lisandra Aguirre, that motivation was her child. "When I found that I was pregnant, I decided that I had to finish what I started and do it for my child so I can have something that would enable me to offer him a good future."

"I've been going to school since I graduated high school in 1999, and, like a lot of young adults, I didn’t know what to major in. I went from wanting to be a lawyer to wanting to be an architect. So I kept changing schools. El Camino College was my first school, then I went to Long Beach City College, and—like third time is the charm—I ended up at East Los Angeles College. I swore not to go there because everyone did, but that’s where I found out about the PACE program. I entered the Liberal Arts track, and in about five semesters I was out of there, and at Cal State Dominguez Hills."

A Los Angeles native, Lisandra always recommends IDS/PACE to her friends, family members, and co-workers who need to work while they finish school. “I chose CSUDH because it was the only Cal State that I knew of that offered the IDS/PACE program.  I wanted to major in something that would allow me to work my full-time schedule, and still give me time to spend with my family. I didn’t want to take another 4-5 years finishing my bachelors, so I decided on the IDS/PACE program’s convenient evening and weekend classes. It’s a great program to finish your BA because the courses are tailored for working adults, and it allows you to continue smoothly with your life without making any dramatic changes.”

Lisandra has learned not to take too many courses at once, “but that is my own choice because I don’t want to overwhelm myself.” IDS/PACE supports students by encouraging that kind of flexibility. Lisandra also gets plenty of support from her family. “They encourage me to go to school and complete my degree and to even pursue a graduate degree. My son is too young to understand, but he knows that his mommy has to go to school.” Her favorite classes are in the Social Sciences where “you learn a lot about the world around you and the people in it.”   

When she graduates, Lisandra will be the first person in her family to have earned her BA, and “I hope to be a role model to my brother and sisters and, of course, to my son.”

Lisandra intends to continue work in the non-profit/social services sector. “I work for an agency that provides subsidized childcare for low-income families so that they can work or seek an education.” Education has become so important to this young mother that she plans to go on to graduate school, although she hasn’t decided what advanced degree to pursue. Her only suggestion to IDS/PACE for ways that the department could improve—“Develop a masters program, too?”