Dr. Jennifer Jovel received her Ph.D. and is currently teaching Sociology at Ohlone College.
It was fifteen years ago that I walked up the stairs to Ohlone College - for the first time. Somehow, I found my way over to the EOPS office and applied to be part of the program that I knew very little about.
The truth is, I knew very little about anything at all that involved college. I wondered if I was even smart enough. Having struggled to make it through high school, I just didn't see myself as "college material;" even if I did find a way to make it through my college classes, I still wasn't sure if I could afford them.
I entered college really doubting that it was a place meant for me, but I was fortunate enough to find a sense of belonging as an EOPS student.
EOPS became a place where I could go ask for help. I had an excellent counselor who answered questions I didn't even know I had, and I found a role model, such as Sandy Bennett, to whom I looked up to. It was only because of the support I received from EOPS that I was able to transfer to U.C. Berkeley and become the first person in my family to graduate from college.
Being an EOPS student at Ohlone College had a huge impact on me: I learned how important it was to give back to our community and to help other students. So after graduating from college, I came back to work at Ohlone to do just that. I found that I loved working with students and I knew that this was the place I needed to be.
Watching my students overcome their struggles inspired me to continue on with my own education as well. I kept going to school and I earned both a Master's degree in Counseling and a second Master's degree in Sociology. I also earned a Ph.D. in the Sociology of Education from Stanford University.
It was a long and difficult journey, but I found continuous support from my Ohlone family. I now teach Sociology at Ohlone Collge, which is a dream come true, and I hope to give back to other students what was given to me.
-Dr. Jennifer Jovel, Ph.D