Alejandra's Open Road

  • INTERVIEWED BY:

    Why Not Us

  • INTERVIEW LOCATION:

    Washington, DC

  • AIRED ON:

    Public Television: Why Not Us

ALEJANDRA CEJA

Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics
US Dept of Education

“There are going to be times when you fall down. But your job is not to avoid falling down-it's to make sure that every time you do, you move in the only direction that matters: forward.”

INTERESTS:

Education Politics

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Education Family Fear Opportunity Support & Encouragement Culture Doubt Character Exploration Community Negativity Passion Societal Pressures Fulfillment Planning Pride Courage Inspiration Focus Honesty Success Values Choices Experience Goals Instincts Pressure Acceptance Struggle

FOUNDATION:

Upholding a Cause and Belief

TAGS:

change the world, college, commitment, community, diversity, dream job, easy, education, explore, immigration, impact, leadership, mexican-american, opportunities, opportunity, protests, proud-family, role models, support system, voices

BIOGRAPHY:

  • Raised in Huntington Park, CA as a first-generation Mexican-American proud of her roots
  • Always thought she'd become a secretary but got interested in policy when she noticed anti-immigrant legislation
  • Saw what college offered and realized a degree could open doors to whatever she wanted
  • Enrolled at Mt. St. Mary's College; struggled with being a minority on campus but dedicated herself
  • After college, was offered an internship in DC, but was afraid to leave her family
  • Mom pushed her to go, saying "I came to this country to make sure you weren't afraid of taking opportunities."
  • Every time she's afraid, she thinks of her parents' journey and gains the strength to take a leap
  • Says risk pays off: she has her dream job of representing her people and working with leaders like the president

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