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My Future Starts Here!

Tue, 2012-11-27
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Reflections from Education Intern Rebecca Raya

Two weeks ago, LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes said farewell to its Education Intern Rebecca Raya. Rebecca first came on board as a volunteer helping LA Plaza on its grand opening day in 2011 and has since then helped with numerous projects and events.

This past summer and fall, Rebecca has specifically helped LA Plaza’s Education Department as an intern. During her internship, Rebecca has worked on everything from drafting Spanish language content and leading student tours, to developing social media.

After her many months of service to LA Plaza, Rebecca will take the experience she has gained and begin a new endeavor studying abroad while finishing her academic career at Whittier College. We are honored to have had Rebecca on our team—and we look forward to her future success!

Hear from Rebecca in her own words as she reflects on her experience as an intern at LA Plaza.

It’s not every day that you find a place where you feel welcomed, challenged, and appreciated. I was lucky to do so last April, when I first volunteered at LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes for its grand opening. Since then, my time at LA Plaza developed into an internship where I have been fortunate enough to learn about my personal history and set the foundation for a successful future.

LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes has challenged me to become a better student and has helped my personal growth as a professional. I have multiple memories of other volunteers asking me what an economics and business major was doing at LA Plaza, when most of them were Chicano Studies or history majors, and at times I would wonder as well. Now in retrospect, I think LA Plaza was the perfect place for an economics major; it was a great supplement for the liberal arts education I chose at Whittier College. I was able to incorporate multiple aspects of lessons I had learned in my classes into the projects I worked on at LA Plaza, whether it was a marketing technique or drafting Spanish translations for audience engagement.

As a product of the public education system, I was surprised when I realized how much of my personal history as a Mexican American was not taught in the classroom. I am eternally grateful to LA Plaza for providing the missing piece in the colorful history of Los Angeles. The Mexican and Mexican American cultures are ones of great struggles and accomplishments; being able to learn about these has inspired me to set out and accomplish great things. My time as an intern has helped me develop pride for my culture, history, and all of the individuals who fought long and hard for me to be where I am today.

I will surely miss LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes and all the wonderful staff. I hope that one day it is I who is exhibited in the museum and that my story inspires future generations, just like César Chávez, Dolores Huerta, and many more have inspired me.

-Rebecca Raya

Born in Boyle Heights, Rebecca Raya is currently a junior at Whittier College and preparing to embark on a study abroad trip to Rome, Italy. She is double majoring in International Business and Economics with a minor in Spanish. Passionate about her culture and education, she is President of M.E.Ch.A. de Whittier College and participates in other clubs, such as Amigos Unidos and Spanish Club. Apart from LA Plaza, she also volunteers her time as a mentor to her peers and local high school students.