Laura Robles-Calderon

Grad program: Communication

Hometown: Seattle, WA

Undergrad institution: University of Washington

Undergrad major: Psychology and Communication

Why did you decide to attend the UW?

As an undergrad in the communication department at UW, I was exposed to a community of students and faculty who helped me discover my interest in research. They was a support group I couldn’t find anywhere else. I learned about the amazing research PhD students and faculty were doing, and they inspired me to join the communication department at UW.

Where do you hope your graduate education will take you?

I hope to one day become an educator in my own community. Having women of color professors has been a tremendous privilege for me because it gave me hope when I couldn’t envision people who look like me or people with a similar background as me, having a Ph.D. I want to be able to inspire other women of color to never stop learning and believe that there isn’t a limit to what they can accomplish.

GO-MAP’s* motto is “Graduate Excellence through Diversity.” What does this mean to you?

Forming an educational experience around people who look different than you, and come from different backgrounds as you is advantageous for everyone’s learning. I think GO-MAP’s motto means that uplifting and exploring cultural diversity on campus, will benefit our success and bring about more opportunities for underrepresented students.

Who has been your inspiration or role model?

Dr. Ralina Joseph, a professor in the communication department, and all women of color professors. Seeing them in the position they are in truly raised the bar for my life goals. They helped me get through the difficulties that come with being a first generation, female, student of color and they showed me that my experiences create a unique perspective that is needed in higher education.

Please provide one tip you’d like to share with UW undergrads or prospective graduate students.

I cannot stress enough how important mentorship is! My mentor relationships were essential for my undergraduate success. Student, faculty and community mentors provided me with amazing resources and non-stop encouragement. Mentorship is so important because of the networking, support, and being able to hear advice from people who have been in your shoes and struggled with similar challenges.

*GO-MAP was the name of a program that is now called GSEE, the Office of Graduate Student Equity & Excellence. Learn more.