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Alexis "Alex" Alcala

Major: Chemistry

Hey y’all! My name is Alexis Alcala but, I prefer to go by Alex. I’m a first-generation college student studying Chemistry at California State University Channel Islands (CSUCI). However, getting thus far has been one heck of a ride. I began my educational journey back in 2013 at Ventura College (VC). I remember when I first started college and not feeling like this is somewhere I belonged. My family had a long history of being gang members, having an addiction or living life just fine without a college education. People around me always told me I’d be the same. So, when it came to college I was completely clueless and felt out of place. Thankfully, I had a mentor in my life who dragged me out of my comfort zone and had me a volunteer at a science event where the key note speakers exposed me to my favorite science of all, CHEMISTRY! The speakers had performed the elephant’s toothpaste experiment. This experiment had colorful bubbles shoot 10 feet out into the air from a tiny flask. When I saw this, I knew I wanted to learn how to make stuff like that! The following semester I took a chemistry course and learned that there was so much more to chemistry than just mixing two chemicals together. It was much harder than that. However, every time I put my lab coat, googles and gloves on I knew that I was already breaking a cycle in my family that no one has ever done before. Most of my life, I never thought being a scientist was a possibility. However, the more I preserved and fought that stigma, I slowly turned into the scientist I was always meant to be. For me, navigating through college has been an obstacle all on its own, but I have been lucky enough that I’ve had mentors in my life who have been there to guide me and give me advice on school. Thanks to their support, I was able to graduate VC, transfer to a four-year university and do multiple internships in the last few years.

I chose CSUCI because, thanks to another mentor, she was able to introduce me to the chemistry professors here and get me a tour of the laboratories. I was even able to volunteer in a research lab before actually being a student here! Besides falling in love with the labs and the chemistry program, going to CSUCI was the most cost-effective option for me. I have been paying for college on my own since I started at VC. However, I’ll have y’all know, that I have not paid a single penny for school since enrolling! So, if you’re worried about how you’ll pay for college, I know all the tricks and tips. I know so many tips and tricks that I now work in the Chemistry Prep Room gaining experience outside the classroom and the school is paying me! I truly am proud to be CSUCI Dolphin! The faculty, staff, and students feel more like a second family than just a place I go to school I go to. Everyone here wants to see you succeed. Since being a student here, CSUCI has allowed me to travel to China, travel to DC to do research at the Smithsonian National Zoo, and travel to San Diego to attend the American Chemical Society conference. College can be so much more than just school work.

As a peer mentor, I plan to serve my students the best I can. I want my students to feel comfortable asking me anything. I may not always have the answer right away, but I promise to try my hardest to get them the answers they are seeking. I’m an open book thus, I will ALWAYS be honest with my students. I hope to show my students that they belong in a place where people always told them they didn’t.