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Alex Serna

Alex Serna

Breakthrough San Juan Capistrano

Career Roadmap

Alex's work combines: Education, Politics, and Upholding a Cause and Belief

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Day In The Life

Program Director

I work alongside highly motivated, first-generation students who will be the first in their families to attend college.

Skills & Education

Here's the path I took:

  • High School

    Katella High School

  • Bachelor's Degree

    African-American/Black Studies

    University of California-Berkeley

  • Graduate Degree

    Urban Education and Leadership

    University of California-Los Angeles

  • Certification

    Community College Administration

    Teachers College at Columbia University

Here's the path I recommend for someone who wants to be an Education Administrators, Postsecondary:

Bachelor's Degree: African-American/Black Studies

Graduate Degree: Urban Education and Leadership

Learn more about different paths to this career

Life & Career Milestones

My path in life took a while to figure out

  • 1.

    I graduated high school with a 2.1 gpa and I was a signature away from enlisting into the Marine Corps.

  • 2.

    At 17, I found out I was going to be a father and decided to enroll at my local community college.

  • 3.

    As a community college student, I had to learn to be a student and build my confidence. Counselors and professors invested in my success.

  • 4.

    Before transferring to UC Berkeley, my partner and I had twins. So together with our family of 4 we moved 800 miles away to attend Berkeley.

  • 5.

    I suffered a sense of guilt and imposter syndrome during my first semester at Berkeley. But, a professor mentored and guided me.

  • 6.

    After a tutoring Spanish in East Oakland at a high school I was inspired to become a teacher and decided to apply to graduate school. I knew that I wanted to support students like me.

  • 7.

    With the support of the Institute for Recruitment of Teachers, I was admitted to UCLA for graduate studies. A day before my orientation, my family and I had one more child.

  • 8.

    After working for another nonprofit in Los Angeles, I found the opportunity to work with first-generation students starting in 7th grade until they graduate college.

Defining Moments

How I responded to discouragement


    because you're going to community college and a teen father you won't accomplish anything in life. You're not going to transfer and graduate from college. You'll be working two jobs to support your children.

  • How I responded:

    The sacrifice, discouragement, obstacles, hurt, and doubt is momentary. In the end, I knew that getting my college education would be the only way to provide my 4 children with a chance to do more then I did.

Experiences and challenges that shaped me

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  • I was afraid, but thought I was alone. When I encountered counselors, professors and other community members who were first-gen, I learned to ask for help . You have to take risks, become uncomfortable and know that you're not alone.