As a recent UC Berkeley graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology, Esmeralda is proud to say that she was a beneficiary of the San Mateo Youth Foundation (SMYF) upon graduating from high school. Esmeralda’s continued involvement has exposed her to future interests and career opportunities in higher education. Not only was SMYF her guide in navigating the university system, but it also gave her first-hand experience working with youth. She is currently working for the Early Academic Outreach Program (EAOP) at UC Berkeley as a College Advisor for low-income, first-generation college students with similar backgrounds as her own. Esmeralda plans to attend graduate school after acquiring more work experience and defining her future career goals. Esmeralda truly believes education is the most effective means of defense against the daily injustices faced in society; access to higher education is a form of empowerment itself.