Mujer a Mujer (which translated, means Woman to Woman) workshops were started in fall semester 2014 by three MSU advisors (Aleida Martinez-Flores, C.A.M.P.; Danielle Lopez, CNS; and Erica Fiasky, NSSC) on a mission to empower undergraduate women at MSU to help them develop professionally through inspirational role models. The workshop series is held bi-weekly on Thursdays in South Neighborhood Holden Hall from 6:00-8:00 p.m. The workshops cover a variety of topics focused on transitional challenges such as self-image, health, consent, relationships, academics and campus engagement. We look forward to covering professional development, identity, stress and purpose this semester.
Pictured here is Veronica Lucas Garcia, a Child Development sophomore, who shares her story because of the impact one workshop had on her decision to continue at MSU. Last year she traveled all the way to MSU from Immokalee, FL and even before thinking about attending college, had dreams of enlisting in the Army. Soon after completing all of the testing for Army enlistment, Veronica also applied for admission to MSU through the College Assistance Migrant Program (C.A.M.P.). C.A.M.P. is an educational program that offers individuals with migrant or seasonal farm work backgrounds, a unique opportunity to begin an undergraduate program at MSU.
She was accepted in fall semester 2014, and the transition from high school to the university in her first semester proved difficult. She recalls upon that semester with a feeling of culture shock and becoming extremely homesick. She could not even foresee continuing on by the middle of the semester. The negative experiences also began to generate frustration and thoughts of “not being good enough” to where it began to impact her performance and motivation in the classroom.
Last year around this time, Garcia was in her room reading for a class and once again began thinking about how frustrated she was with her academic performance, she then declared, “I do not need college, I am breaking my head to do good here, this isn’t right, what am I doing here?” She shared with her roommate her plans to buy a plane ticket that night and head back home to Florida. Garcia remembers heading over to the computer to which her roommate responded, “What are you doing? If you quit college your family is going to be disappointed, and what are you going to do with your life?”
This led to an argument with her roommate and, in the end, she decided not to purchase a plane ticket just yet. The following day a friend invited her to attend Mujer a Mujer. Once arriving she recalls immediately noticing a group of Latina’s in the room and felt a sense of pride. The workshop that night was “Academic Journey,” which focused on presenting three very different accounts of Latinas and their transitions from high school graduation into higher education.
It was through these stories Garcia began to see herself, as they experienced similar frustrations and challenges. Leaving the workshop that night Garcia was inspired. She finally saw how a college education, even with all of its challenges and frustrations, was achievable. When Garcia returned in the spring, she shared the impact of the workshop and her academic performance improved significantly. She even stepped out of her comfort zone and volunteered to serve on the planning committee.
Today, Garcia continues to attend the Mujer a Mujer workshops and shares with us that she would not have continued on at MSU if it were not for attending that workshop that night. We are very inspired and motivated even more to continue our mission this year and are honored that Garcia was willing to share her story.