Staff Spotlight: Jacqueline Hernandez
What is your role in CSA?
My role here at CSA is Admission Associate. I work with Admissions and also with the family advocacy center, known as the IRC (Irma Rivera Center). I am responsible for coordinating the admissions process and working closely with the IRC team, staff, faculty, and the applicant families. I also engage with our current families through the IRC resources and programming.
What motivated you to work at CSA?
I was born and raised in Trenton, NJ and I am a product of the Trenton public school system. I learned and visited CSA through a fellowship after college and was blown away by the opportunity students in Trenton were able to receive from Christina Seix’s vision! It was something that always stayed with me. Years later, when I was back in grad school looking for an opportunity to compliment the course work I was doing, I thought again of CSA. I actually applied to be a substitute teacher and ended up being placed in the IRC.
Describe yourself in three words.
Optimistic, Resilient, and Compassionate
What’s your spirit animal?
My spirit animal I would say would be a unicorn. Unicorns are unique, some say rare and impossible to find. However, they have all the characteristics of a horse like strength and reliability. For me this shows that although many people have doubted my journey and potential, when you believe in yourself, your possibilities for what you can achieve are endless.
Who is your spirit celebrity?
My spirit celebrity would be Ellen Degeneres. She is someone who has always been fearless and did not allow anyone to change who she is. She always does what she can to make people laugh and smile. She is selfless, and despite her success she has made it a priority to give back and help families and communities in need.
What inspires you to continue working at CSA?
The students and families. When I see the students learning, smiling, and having fun it makes everything worth it. You know that the work you do makes a difference. Seeing the hardwork and success of our students and families is so inspiring. It keeps me grounded in working toward a better version of myself.
What is your favorite quote?
“You were given this life because you are strong enough to live it”
I have endured a lot of loss in my 27 years of life. At times you question “ Why me?”. But when I think about this quote, it helps me remember to not give up, and continue to live my best life. Ultimately that is how I can honor and make my family proud.
What is the theme song of your life?
“Independent Women” by Destiny’s Child. Growing up I was a huge believer in education granting you access to opportunities you may never else have. So when I would hear this song, it was such a motivation and inspiration for me to stay in school and become successful. I knew by becoming a strong independent woman, I would not only be able to take care of myself, but someday help my family.
Who is the greatest influence on who you are today?
I would have to say my family. I have always been a family oriented person. Although I have witnessed my family facing some difficult times, it always motivated me to make myself better so that I could in return help my family. Also having two younger siblings, I want to show them where you come from and what your family experiences does not define who you are and what you can accomplish.