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Ana works as a school counselor in urban communities reinforcing educational and counseling practices to help buffer the risk factors that are experienced by students and their families. Students face many challenges that go beyond the classroom. She believes that educators are in a unique position to help mitigate those risk-factors by cultivating a supportive school climate. It is pivotal to identify student concerns in their earliest stages to implement prevention and intervention strategies in a systematic and comprehensive manner.
Some of the students Ana works with are the most vulnerable and in need of the most social emotional support and of resources including students in foster care and/or involved in the juvenile justice system, students experiencing homelessness, and/or pregnant and parenting teens. In Ana’s school counseling practices, she advocates for the educational opportunity, equity and access of high needs students and implements professional development for staff that support those commitments.
Ana was born in Mexico and raised in Watts, California. Growing up in Watts, exposed her to issues of poverty, gang violence, prostitution, drug dealing and addiction, broken down school systems, low accessibility to food and inadequate health care in her community. Being aware of the social issues affecting her community motivated Ana to serve under privileged populations as a social worker for several years before transitioning into school counseling. Ana holds a Bachelor’s in Psychology with a minor in Education from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a Master’s in School Counseling from California State University, Northridge. While at UC, Santa Barbara, she assisted on research pertaining to a program for Latina immigrant mothers and daughters focusing on communication relating to sex health education and educational aspirations. In addition, Ana was a research assistant and focused on research on adolescent truancy and dropout prevention, intervention, behavior management, and evaluation of a Positive Behavior Intervention Support Program.
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