José immigrated from Mexico when he was seven years old and grew up as a migrant farm worker in the Sacramento area. He is a first generation college student and graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Ethnic Studies. He began as an engineering student but after tutoring in Upward Bound and Educational Talent Search changed his career goals and started working with students. After graduating from UCB, José began working with middle school kids in a Trio program on a full-time basis and has been working in the college access and preparing field for over twenty-five years. Jose received an MA in Public Administration from CSU East Bay. José comes to First Graduate from UC Berkeley where he served as the Executive Director for College Preparation Program in the Center for Educational Partnerships. In CEP, he has worked with Trio programs, EAOP, AmeriCorps, launched a Cal-SOAP program in Solano county and founded the Destination College Advising Corps program as a chapter of the national College Advising Corps.
Growing up as an immigrant and migrant farmworker, my family and my community did not have access to many resources. I was the first in family to graduate from high school, first go to college and first to earn a college degree because I was lucky enough to have three close friends who pushed me to succeed and some caring educators who helped me apply to college. Getting a college education shouldn’t be about luck. Being part of First Graduate is my way of helping to make up for it.