UW Graduate School

Avalon Valencia

Avalon-ValenciaLatino/a Scholars Graduate School Fellow

Grad major: Social Work

Hometown: Sunnyside, WA

Undergrad institution: University of Washington

Undergrad major: Public Health

Why did you decide to attend graduate school?

I decided to pursue graduate education to expand on my knowledge and experience in healthcare and educational settings with a social work lens. I am the first person in my family to receive a Bachelor’s degree and will soon be the first to receive a Master’s as well. I strive to be an example to my younger siblings and students, showing them that with education, anything is possible.

What are your career plans post-graduate school?

I plan to work within a healthcare or educational setting, gaining experience toward my licensed independent clinical social worker licensure, and continue my work with students in pre-college programs.

What advice would you give to undergraduates thinking about graduate school?

Network. Make connections everywhere you go, even if it’s just greeting someone; you never know who will remember you or who will connect with you and lead you to new people and opportunities. Study abroad, early if you can, and volunteer as much as you can. Academia is important, but so are outside experiences. Overall, connect and give back as much as you can — it all helps in the long run.