Yerika is a Honduran-American, native Chicagoan, and the first person in her family to attend and graduate college. From a young age, Yerika’s personal interest lay within the intersection of community engagement and education. She served as a student coordinator at the Draper Center for Community Partnership for the Pomona Academy for Youth Success (PAYS) program where she supported first generation high school students’ college application process. This work along with her personal journey cemented for her the importance of college access and attainment for underserved communities. These experiences have led her to be the College Access Associate for Pass with Flying Colors, where she hopes she can use her personal insights to serve and inspire her students.
Pomona College, Bachelor of Arts in Sociology
What I Wish I Knew My First Year
There is a quote on a wall of the Pitzer College campus, a ten minute walk from Pomona’s campus, that reads “You are of this place – it is changing you.” I would add – “You are changing it.” Being on Pomona’s campus was transformative in many ways, I grew more passionate about the inequities I saw and was increasingly upset that some of my peers did not see them. However, I learned that many were willing to learn and work towards fighting these inequities with me. Myself and many other women of color on campus started a community and took leadership roles to change things on our campus and the neighboring communities. Having those opportunities forced me to articulate my frustrations and come up with solutions in this place and for this place. I was a part of Pomona, yes it changed me, but I also changed it.
Favorite Place on Campus
My favorite place on campus was the Women’s Union. I worked there all four years of my undergraduate career. We have a nice cozy lounge with comfortable couches on the second floor of a building with about six balconies. This space was physically cozy, but it was the incredible people in the space that makes it my favorite. The staff I worked with became my friends and support system. Together we strived to make Pomona a more accepting community. They were the people making sure there was a comfortable and safe space for all women on campus.