Igniting Interest and Respect for Diverse Cultures

Erica aims to be a catalyst for meaningful, enduring change.

Q. Tell us about your path leading up to today.

A. My journey to UCR University Extension was primarily motivated by my aspiration to obtain a certificate in Ethnic Studies Education. This goal was driven by my desire to stand out among my peers in the school district, particularly considering the forthcoming high school graduation requirement. Furthermore, the training provided by my school district proved to be insufficient for my professional and educational needs. Seeking a more comprehensive and enriching program, I saw UCR University Extension as the perfect opportunity to enhance my qualifications and expertise in a competitive environment.

Q. What difference did your experience at UCR University Extension make to your life path and career goals?

A. My experience at UCR University Extension was transformative for both my career trajectory and personal development. By securing a certificate in Ethnic Studies Education, I fortified my standing in the educational field, particularly amidst the evolving academic landscape with the new graduation requirements. This academic endeavor enriched my understanding and perspective, allowing me to approach teaching with a renewed sense of confidence and depth that was not previously afforded by my school district's training.

Beyond the immediate professional enhancement, my time at UCR also instigated a period of significant personal growth. Engaging with diverse viewpoints and multifaceted cultural discourses expanded my worldview and ignited a passion for continued learning and advocacy within my classroom and community. This experience not only made me a more competitive candidate within my district but also profoundly shaped my educational philosophy and future career aspirations, inspiring me to strive for systemic change and to serve as a better educator and role model.

Q. What are your hopes and aims for your future?

A. Following my comprehensive studies at UCR University Extension, my ambitions are geared towards making a substantial impact within and beyond my educational community. With the enhanced expertise from my certificate in Ethnic Studies Education, my primary aim is to revolutionize the way ethnic studies are taught within my school district. I plan to introduce innovative, impactful educational practices that not only meet the required standards but also ignite a genuine interest and respect for diverse cultures among students.

In addition to influencing change in the classroom, I aspire to assume a leadership role within my educational community. By leading workshops, professional development courses, and community outreach initiatives focused on the importance of ethnic studies, I intend to broaden the scope of my impact. My objective is to create a domino effect that not only enhances the quality of education within my district but also sets a precedent that neighboring districts might follow.

My hopes for the future include creating a network of like-minded educators, through which we can share resources, strategies, and support. Together, we would work towards elevating the standard of ethnic studies education at a regional level. By striking a balance between hands-on educational work and leadership, I aim to be a catalyst for meaningful, enduring change, contributing significantly to a more tolerant, informed, and united society.

You are inspirational, Erica, and we are proud partners on your journey. We look forward to following what we know will be many contributions toward your students and your educational community. You will make a difference!

UCR University Extension alumna Erica Aguirre Erica Aguirre
High School History-Social Science Teacher, Ethnic Studies Committee Member and Curriculum Designer
B.A., Sociology, UC Irvine
M.Ed., Curriculum and Instruction, Concordia University
Single Subject Teaching Credential History-Social Science, CSU Long Beach
Graduate, UCR University Extension
Professional Certificate in Ethnic Studies Education