Welcome to the “Alumni Spotlight” monthly series. Learn how our Union Institute & University (UI&U) graduates are living the UI&U mission of engagement, enlightenment, and empowerment.
The spotlight is also on National Hispanic Month and Union’s commitment to diversity. During National Hispanic Month, Union is highlighting the students, staff and faculty, and alumni of Hispanic heritage with features, social media posts, and more. Union serves a 26% Hispanic adult learner population. It is the only university in Ohio designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education Hispanic-Serving Institutions Division web page. A HIS is defined as a university where total Hispanic enrollment constitutes a minimum of 25% of the total enrollment.
Featured this month: Jennifer Ochoa
Education: UI&U graduate of the Child & Adolescent Development
Profession: Head Start Teacher
In the Q& A below, Jennifer Ochoa, alumna and proud to be of Hispanic heritage, shares her memories of Union.
Q. What has your degree meant to you personally and professionally?
A. I wanted teaching experience and a degree where I can work with children and adults or families. I got the job that I wanted because of my degree. I always wanted to be a teacher and now I am in the profession that I love. I am also a first generation college graduate.
Q. What quality do you admire most about your alma mater?
A. I admire the teachers. They were awesome. I worked fulltime while in school and Union was accommodating and flexible with my schedule. I will always be grateful for the letter of recommendation that helped me get my job.
Q. If you could give advice to a Union student, what would it be?
A. Keep going. Don’t give up even when you don’t think you can write one more essay. Seek help from your peers and your teachers. When you doubt yourself and your ability to continue reach out and team with a friend. School is challenging but you can finish and graduate.
Q. What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment?
A. I have been married for six years and we are expecting our first child in the spring. I think becoming a parent will be my greatest accomplishment.
Q. What is your passion away from work?
A. I enjoy hanging out with my husband. I like to be outdoors and at the beach. I also enjoy travelling and watching movies.