Please join us in GradSuccess as we welcome Monique Posadas, who recently joined Graduate Division as the new Coordinator of the Graduate Student Mentorship Program. Let’s find out a little more about her!
Monique, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you came to work at UCR?
I’m from Santa Cruz, California. I have two cats (Lila and Philippe) and a six-year-old little girl named Citlali. I live with my extended family and husband in San Jacinto.
[Image Description: Monique holding a very young Citlali in her arms on the beach.]
Pictured: Engaging in the time-honored California tradition of pretending the water isn’t freezing….
I’m also a doctoral student at Claremont Graduate University (CGU). My degree will be in Education with a concentration in Higher Education and Student Affairs. I am a Bowen Fellow at CGU and I sit on the Board of Directors for the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE).
UCR is my dream school! I first came to UCR during a Southern California EOP college campus visitation program through my community college. The moment I stepped foot on campus, I fell in love. Though I never went to school here, I always had UCR in the back of my mind. When my husband and I decided to move to Southern California from New York, I began targeting UCR as a site of employment. Many years later, here I am. Finally!
[Image Description: Amy Adams in Enchanted says earnestly, “But dreams do come true.”]
Pictured: Monique finds UCR enchanting.
It’s so inspiring that you are pursuing your doctorate while also working full time at UCR. Can you tell us a little more about the research you’re planning to undertake for your dissertation?
My research interests in graduate student success perfectly align with the work I do in Graduate Division. I am really excited to bridge my research with my professional life. My research comes from a place of trying to understand how to better serve graduate students. I was in a doctoral program at Syracuse University, and I left with my master’s degree. I wish I’d had better support that would have helped me get through the program. Though my experience is unique to me, the lack of support for graduate students is not.
In general, about 50% of doctoral students do not make it through their program. I am still working out how to approach this research project, but mainly I want to understand if and how grad support programs make a difference in the retention of graduate students.
As you mentioned, you’re also a Bowen Fellow and AAHHE Programs Chair. What do these positions involve?
The Bowen Fellows support and advocate for students in the School of Educational Studies at CGU. We host events for students that focus on support and the hidden curriculum in higher education.
For AAHHE, I am the Chair of the inaugural ETS/AAHHE Undergraduate Fellows Program. We proposed this program to ETS and they agreed to fund this exciting initiative. This year, we will select 15 undergraduate students, from across the country, who will learn about post-bac options and opportunities, the importance of research, and professional development.
What are you most looking forward to when it comes to working with graduate students at UCR?
I want to better understand how to be an effective student advocate at UCR. I want to understand how I can support students from the inside out. But to do this, I need to understand the challenges and barriers students face at UCR and how we can ameliorate, and ultimately remove these.
I am also eager to build strong partnerships with other campus and community partners. There are so many folks doing great work in the Inland Empire, and it feels great to see and be a part of that culture of care.
[Image Description: The Grinch extends his arms and exclaims, “You’re my people!”]
Pictured: What? Too early for Christmas GIFs?
Great! In what ways do you see the Graduate Student Mentorship Program benefiting UCR’s grad student population?
Mentors are so important to the process of growth in graduate school. If you simply look at our internal institutional research, UCR graduate students who were involved in GSMP saw less attrition than other graduate students (about 8%). Compared to the national average, we can see that having a support network can make all the difference when students are trying to navigate institutions of higher education.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us about your life, family, and/or career goals?
Growing up in Santa Cruz, I came from a very large Mexican family of surfers and I spent my early years on the beach. I was expected to follow in the footsteps of the many professional surfers in my family. Needless to say, I did not take up professional surfing. I just don’t have the competitive spirit for it.
One day when my mom and sister went out to breakfast, pro surfer Kelly Slater spotted my mom and he asked her if she is a part of our surfer family. When she said yes, he asked to take a picture with her. My mom did not even know who he was, as she is not a surfer herself.
[Image Description: Pro surfer Kelly Slater with Monique’s mother in a diner.]
Pictured: When someone famous asks to take a picture with you.
I learned so much from my family and I consider these the greatest teachings of my life, even though I have been in school for the majority of my lifetime.
How can people reach you in GradSuccess, either in person or online?
Folks can reach me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone in the office at 951-827-3386 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I have office hours from 10am-11am, Tuesday through Thursday (on Wednesday my office hours are on Zoom).