Maria Sandra Jimenez
While I was born in Jalisco, Mexico, I call the United States my home country. I grew up as a migrant child along with my siblings in the Ventura County area of California. My most vivid recollections of migrant life involve my parents working at Rancho Sespe’s citrus orchards and coming home with orange-blossom and lemon scent on their clothes. After my parents legally separated, my siblings and I moved to South Lake Tahoe with our mother for a few years, finally settling in Carson City, Nevada. As the oldest of four, I took on parenting responsibilities at an early age, including the role as the family’s interpreter/translator with doctors, schoolteachers, insurance agents, including completing job applications and school excuse notes. As a first-generation college graduate, I credit my successes to my hard-working parents, peers, friends and mentors I met along my educational journey. From an early age, I recognized that education was key for life improvement. For this reason, I was driven to complete several degrees: a B.A. in English Literature/Secondary Education Teaching, an M.A. in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, an Ed.S. in Educational Leadership, and I am a doctoral candidate in the Equity and Diversity in Education program at the University of Nevada, Reno.
Over the past eighteen+ years, I have worked with a diverse group of learners in various K-16 settings; such as, in an administrative leadership role in a public school, college and University setting, K-12 teaching, as well as, teaching at the community college and university level. Currently, I serve as Director for the TRIO Student Support Services Program at Truckee Meadows Community. The primary goal of this federally funded program is to increase the persistence, graduation and/or transfer rate of first-generation, income qualified students and students with a disability. Due to my bilingual, biliterate and bicultural background, I have been able to serve on various organizations and boards to advocate for disadvantaged students, families, and communities within the local, state, and national level.