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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

Q&A with Senior Career Services Advisor Stephanie Rubio

January 24, 2023

Stephanie Rubio knows what it is like to be a single mom trying to provide a stable home and financial security for young children. During her own times of struggle, she realized a college education would boost her career potential, but how could she squeeze full-time work and school into an already busy life and mountain of responsibilities?

She found a way. And now she is in a position to share her roadmap of education and career success with others in her role as Senior Career Services Advisor for SJVC’s Bakersfield campus.

 

What motivated you to push for higher education and career training? 

A lot of single parent students are here (SJVC) because they want those careers with better opportunities. They’re on their own and need that greater stability. I understand where they are because I was a single mom, raising two young children and it was super difficult.

 

Which came first for you – work or school?

Work. I started out at the front desk at SJVC 25-years ago and moved to Employment Services 22-years ago. When my youngest was in high school I decided to go back to school. I came from a family that never went to college, so it was something that was very important for me.

I got my A.S. degree in Human Resource Administration at SJVC and in 2020 decided to get my Bachelor’s degree in Health Care Administration (SJVC online – 2021).

 

How do you help prepare students for their job search? 

We (Career Services Advisors) make connections with students from the get-go and let them know what we do for them throughout the time they are here. We conduct mock interviews to help students get comfortable with that employer interaction and help them with resumes and portfolios for their job search.

We work with employers we have built relationships with over the years. No matter what program students have chosen, there are going to be opportunities out there for them. Career Services is like a dating service, matching students with employers who are ready to hire. Our office knows the protocols, preferences and even the culture of every employer we match to our students. And we follow up with employers for feedback on each interview to see how it went. We use that information to better prepare students for future interviews.

 

What are some of the favorite parts of your job? 

I love doing outreach with employers, attending Chamber of Commerce meetings, and doing lots of volunteer work in the community. It all helps me connect with employers for student externship (student hands-on work experience) and future hires. I also work with student placement in hospitals outside California.

I just enjoy working with students and graduates, hearing how their progress is going throughout school, talking with graduates, and feeling their excitement and appreciation for helping them to find their jobs.

 

Is your student support short-term or ongoing? 

We are very much involved in our students’ progress throughout their programs. We celebrate good grades and providing positive acknowledgement along the way. We recognize students for perfect attendance or making the Dean’s List; and every 5-weeks we celebrate with Nacho Bowls. Hey, we’re fun people, too!

We also help them make job-choice decisions when that time comes. Sometimes they will get two job offers and we will talk it out and give them the framework to make a decision. We look at the benefits, pros/cons, and help them get to their own decision.

 

What are the struggles in your work? 

I sometimes struggle with how I can best help a student. A student might hesitate to take that step into a new career. Even though it’s what they wanted, it’s still scary for them. I remind them that this is what they came to school for, this is the change you wanted. I reassure them, continue to help them and wait for something to click inside.

 

How do you promote students’ job search success? 

I always tell my students to have confidence in themselves. Self-esteem is very important, and some students have never really had that until now. I remind them that they have the skills and knowledge from their SJVC program and now it’s time to put that to work. It’s important for them to feel good about themselves because they’re going to go out there and it’s going to show.

 

What are your feel-good moments in Career Services? 

Definitely when we get that phone call and our student says, ‘I got the job!’, and the tone of their voice is still a little surprised. It makes me feel good – kind of like a parent – because they thought enough to call me. They’ve changed their life and their family’s life. And I helped with that.

 

Does your own education and career trajectory influence your advice to students? 

I was a single mom and went back to school in my forties. I tell them, ‘If I can do it, you can do it. You might have to take a little bit away from family and set aside time for homework, but in the end, it’s going to be worth it. You just have to really want this.’

 

What is the most important thing you can give your students? 

An instructor once saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself when he told me I should consider college. That became my goal.

I want to give my students a new vision of themselves. They might know what they want but they can’t see how they’re going to get there. I have a board in my office: “Believe in yourself and anything is possible!”

I tell them, “We’re going to keep working together because there is an opportunity out there for you. And you’re not going to give up because I’m not going to give up.”

 

We invite you to learn more about Stephanie! Find out what SJVC means to her and what inspires her to succeed everyday.

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