Alex Serna

Alex Serna

Program Director


Breakthrough San Juan Capistrano

Milestones

Milestones

My road in life took a while to figure out.
I graduated high school with a 2.1 gpa and I was a signature away from enlisting into the Marine Corps.
At 17, I found out I was going to be a father and decided to enroll at my local community college.
As a community college student, I had to learn to be a student and build my confidence. Counselors and professors invested in my success.
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.
I suffered a sense of guilt and imposter syndrome during my first semester at Berkeley. But, a professor mentored and guided me.
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.
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.
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.
Keep following my journey
Education

Education

highschool
High School
Katella High School
undergrad
Bachelor
American Studies
University of California-Berkeley
graduate
Graduate
Urban Education and Leadership
University of California-Los Angeles
certification
Certification/License
College Advisement Program
Teachers College at Columbia University
Career

Career

Program Director

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

Career Roadmap

Roadmap
My work combines:
My work combines:
Education
Education
Politics
Politics
Upholding a Cause and Belief
Upholding a Cause and Belief

Day to Day

Every day, I have the opportunity to help a middle school student keep their grades up, encourage them to take a leadership role on campus to supporting a high school senior applying to college and ensuring they have the resources they deserve to thrive. I work with dedicated and hard working parents who have big dreams, aspirations and hopes for their children. I am surrounded by peers in college access and other nonprofits who inspire me to be better and more knowledgeable.

Skills & Qualities Beyond School

Learn to listen, ask for help, make mistakes, but grow from them.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for college students

You might not do exactly what you want at first, but every opportunity is one to learn and grow. Networking is critical to understand your passions through other's experiences.

Recommended Education

My career is related to what I studied. I'd recommend the path I took:

undergrad
Bachelor
American Studies
graduate
Graduate
Urban Education and Leadership
certification
Certification/License
College Advisement Program
Hurdles

Hurdles

The Noise I Shed

"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. "

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.

Challenges I Overcame

First-Generation College Student
First-Generation College Student

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.