chemeketa students

Meet Selina: Helping students and families

By Chemeketa Public Affairs

Chemeketa advisor Julio Cortez gave a small bit of advice to a struggling CAMP student seven years ago that ended up making a big difference.

The CAMP student was Selina Ramon Sanchez. She was part of the first Chemeketa Scholars cohort in 2008, and she was dismayed to find herself struggling in a Chemeketa math class. Math and science had always been Selina’s strength as student at North Marion High. She even considered becoming a doctor until she realized the burden that years of medical school would place on her family. She came to Chemeketa looking for other ways to help her community and that tough math class caused her to question whether she even belonged here.

“I was afraid and didn’t think anyone would help me,” she recalled. “Julio told me to speak up and be my own advocate. So I talked with the instructor and he was really helpful.”

Ramon Sanchez transferred to Western Oregon University where she earned an interdisciplinary studies degree combining studies in everything that interested her: Spanish, accounting and psychology. Her intent for her education was to help members of the Latino community improve how they manage their personal finances. While at WOU she kept a part-time job as a registration assistant at Chemeketa Woodburn where she advocated for the economic benefits of education.

She started work for the Oregon Department of Human Services but kept an eye on job openings at Chemeketa.

“I feel like I belong to Chemeketa,” she says.

Her chance to act on that sentiment came when Chemeketa opened a position in financial aid to help with the workload anticipated from implementing the Oregon Promise. Selina was hired to help students and families navigate the complexities of paying for college. She is currently the only Spanish-fluent employee in Chemeketa’s financial aid department.

“The Oregon Promise is totally going to open the doors for so many students,’ she exclaims.

Many of them will have some idea of how Selina helped them. Maybe they’ll get some advice from Julio along the way too. What they may never appreciate is how their conversation seven years ago created an advocate for college access.

 

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