Yesica Umana-Monzon wants to make a difference in the lives of others by pursuing a career in social justice.
“Growing up, I saw my parents face many obstacles in a new country and trying to adapt to life here,” she explains. “There were many hardships my family faced. One of them was my parents working long hours to provide for my siblings and me.”
Throughout her childhood, Yesica cared for her two younger siblings every day when she came home from school. She says the experience gave her a sense of responsibility and structure, and helped her figure out what she wanted out of life early on.
Today, Yesica is embracing her undergraduate education in criminal justice and psychology at St. Thomas Aquinas College, and values class discussions about important issues such as racial injustice, poverty, and challenges in the criminal justice system. She’s inspired by her professors and is now considering a career in law. This career path came to mind when Yesica took Mr. Nawoichyk’s “Introduction to Policing” class. “He would ask questions that were controversial,” she says about the retired police officer. “The discussion of social issues made me want to do something to make a difference.”
Since freshman year, Yesica has been an active member of STAC’s Multicultural Student Organization (MSO). “There is a unity in this group that is so strong I feel like I’m part of a family,” she says. “MSO stands for different ethnic groups coming together and celebrating their differences together, culturally.”
In addition to participating in events and activities with MSO and other fun events on campus like Oktoberfest, Yesica is a member of Alpha Phi Sigma. She says she appreciates the “close-knit” feeling of community on campus and how professors and staff get to know the students.
Her former instructor Mr. Nawoichyk describes Yesica as a dedicated student and a pleasure to have in class. “She is a strong, confident young adult who is dedicated to being successful in her future endeavors,” he says. “She is always willing to work hard and learn new things. I know we will be hearing great things about Yesica Umana-Monzon in the future.”
Her family is at the center of Yesica’s life and, even though she lives on campus, she visits her home in Rockland often to spend time with her siblings and parents. Yesica says she loves them deeply, and that her mom is her greatest role model.
“My mother loves education and learning but could only attend up to middle school because of the cost,” Yesica says. “She pushes me to be the best version of myself and continue my education until I can learn no more.”