Why I Came To USD, and More Importantly, Why I Stayed

A blog post from SOLES Master’s Credential Cohort Program: Secondary Education Student Ambassador, Matthew Becerra
I am in the third semester of the Master’s Credential Cohort in the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, and am a male teaching candidate of color who is planning on spending the rest of his life working as a public school teacher/educator.

Prior to USD’s School of Leadership and Education Sciences, I attended public schools (proudly) for 17 consecutive years, all the way through undergraduate studies.

However, when it came to graduate school I was intrigued and excited by the University of San Diego because of everything the school had to offer, particularly in alignment with the school’s mission and vision statements dedicated to social justice and positively impacting communities.

After a month of school, I started to actually question whether or not I belonged at USD. The transition happened so quickly and suddenly that I was personally feeling overwhelmed. Fortunately, I was taking EDUC 581C, Multicultural and Philosophical Foundations of Education in a Global Society, and had Dr. Veronica Garza as my professor. Not only was the class itself rewarding, as we talked at length about inequities in education, but I was able to build rapport with Professor Garza, and now consider her a mentor. She showed genuine care and interest in my learning, by emailing me directly when I missed class, or to thank me for classroom discussion contributions. So when I came to her to express my concerns and doubts, she was an empowering voice of reason and comfort. She routinely would tell me “You DO belong here” when referencing the school and encouraged me to speak my truth. It is because of her support and reassurance (as well as our mutual love for the Los Angeles Dodgers) that I not only stayed enrolled but now have immersed myself into the graduate school community.

I share this to say, first and foremost, thank you Dr. Garza for your support. Secondly, I want all prospect students to know if you are looking for a space where the faculty care about you, truly, then I would recommend attending the School of Leadership and Education Sciences.

– Matthew Becerra

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