Serving a Diverse Population of Students
College can appear intimidating, especially for students who are the first in their families to pursue a degree. For some, the difference between graduating and dropping out is finding the peer-to-peer support that pushes students to carry on.
At MiraCosta College, students can find a welcoming community thanks to the General Counseling team. Counselors provide support to students by helping them define their goals and achieve their educational objectives.
For counselor Karina Duarte-Braunstein, guiding students is far more than helping students select classes, teaching them time management, or leveraging all the resources available at the college. For Duarte-Braunstein, counseling is a higher calling.
“College is a way out of poverty and a way for students to pursue a higher quality of life,” explains Duarte-Braunstein.
Once an advertising professional specializing in marketing to the Latinx community, Duarte-Braunstein took a different path with her life, earned a Master’s in Counseling and has been guiding students at MiraCosta College since 2014. Assisting students through the department’s Counseling 100 course, she encourages them to fully realize how to prioritize, think critically, learn basic work skills and provide suggestions for balancing school with the outside responsibilities.
For Undocumented students, one of the challenges to staying in school is staying in the country. Seeing a need to serve the undocumented and mixed status student population, Duarte-Braunstein helped secure a privately funded grant in collaboration with California State University San Marcos to implement the Undocumented People Rise in Solidarity and Empowerment, or UPRISE program.
Through its share of the $235,000 grant, MiraCosta College has been able to provide free legal services, immigration information and psychological counseling to help undocumented and mixed status students, as well as their loved one’s, cope with the stresses that come from lack of documentation. At the college’s Oceanside campuses, the program offers workshops to help undocumented and mixed status students and their families make legal preparations in the event of a deportation or other family emergency. “As a college, we have the responsibility to reflect, embrace, and serve our community,” said Duarte-Braunstein. “When more people have the opportunity to learn, we all benefit. Education builds vibrant and healthy communities far into the future.”