After her family immigrated to the United States from Peru when she was just two years old, Rose Ramirez spent many years feeling like an outsider and searching for her identity. She struggled to balance her parents’ requests to find a quick route to a well-paying job with her desire to find a career that interested her. After a brief and unsatisfying career managing art galleries, Rose decided that she wanted to explore her options at Saddleback College with the goal of finding a topic for which she was truly passionate. Rose credits two Saddleback humanities professors, Dr. Alannah Rosenberg and Collette Chattopadhyay, for helping her find her calling. After earning an associate’s degree in geography from Saddleback, Rose is transferring to Columbia University in New York City to obtain her bachelor’s degree in geography.
“My mentors were professors Rosenberg and Chattopadhyay. Their constant encouragement changed the course of my life as they have inspired me to pursue a life in academia.”
While at Saddleback, Rose has been very involved in the honors program and honors student council as well as the Associated Student Government. She has worked as a tutor, both on campus and for private companies, to help pay her tuition. She has received several scholarships to help pay her tuition at Columbia University.
Still, her success has not been without tragedy: Last year, Rose’s longtime boyfriend was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and she considered dropping out of school to care for him. “After careful consideration, I decided not to quit and continue going to Saddleback. I feel that I'm doing the right thing by pursing my education because it will better our lives together in the future.”
Thanks to Rose’s determination and the support she received at Saddleback, she has found her passion and hopes to pass that on to future generations. Rose plans to continue her education and earn a doctorate in geography and become a professor.
To current and future Saddleback students Rose advises: “Never lose faith in yourself. If you have self-doubt, acknowledge it, and then let it pass. Your obstacles are just illusions.”