Elizabeth Nelson

How did your experiences at CSUB help you find your first position after graduation? 

During my master’s program in Educational Counseling one of the requirements was 600 hours of internship. It was in this phase of the program I was really able to work in different educational environments and find the one which was the best fit for me.

 What career advice would you give our students?

The advice I give to my Career Development students is to be introspective, find what you value, reflect on what brings you joy, and then go from there. Work environments can be just as important as work activities. There are so many facets to a career it’s important to look at them from every angle. If you can volunteer, intern, or even interview someone who is working in an industry you are interested in you will gain more insight. It’s just as important to know what you don’t want to do as it is to know what you do want to do.

 How did you decide to pursue the career that you are working in today? Was there a pivotal moment? 

I became a teacher first but knew even during my credential program that I should be a counselor. Working one-on-one with students to help plan their educational paths is what I love to do. Sometimes the path is clear and sometimes it’s a puzzle to be solved. Figuring these really important decisions out alone is so difficult and I am always happy to help.

 What do you attribute your success to? Success doesn’t come from one place. I have drive to succeed, which helps, but I’m supported by a lot of people. My husband thinks I’m the smartest, my friends tell me when I’m great and tell me when I’m being crazy, and my parents taught me to try.

 How do you foster creative and innovative thinking within your organization? 

My podcast Do Good, Kern County is very new and was not created in a vacuum. For me, creativity comes from necessity. I created this podcast because I needed it to exist, so I reached out to my family and friends. This is where I had to start. I’ve been discouraged by all the negativity around me, and yet I am reminded often of the good and positive actions of individuals and collectives in our community. I also know I can’t be the only one feeling this way, so I decided the podcast should focus on the positive, not in a naïve way, but in a truly authentic way.

What are the most important decisions that you face daily as a leader in your organization? What’s next? There are always so many ideas. I want to expand and cover more events and highlight more community members. For me it is difficult to go slow and focus on quality. I want all the fun to happen right now.

 What have you accomplished or overcame in the past that you thought was impossible at the time? 

I’ve struggled with mental health illness and the associated stigmas. There were times I didn’t think I was mentally capable of doing everything I had the drive to do, which is very frustrating.

 What hardships did you face, and how did you overcome them?

The truth about mental health is that a large percentage of the population suffers and they do so in silence because of the stigmas attached. I decided not to hide my struggles but rather seek help and share with others. It continues to be healing and empowering.

 Who is a person that you considered as a role model early in your life? 

My parents are the hardest working people I know. In fact, my dad has had at least 3 jobs since he retired. It isn’t because he’s a workaholic, but rather he is passionate about his hobbies  and peruse them. I find that very inspiring. My mom graduated from college the year I graduated from jr. high. I saw first hand how hard she worked to make a better life for herself. She’s retired now too and will be finishing her master's degree next month. She is now an educational consultant and speaks at conferences.

 Which accomplishment are you most proud of? 

I’m most proud of completing the first episode of Do Good, Kern County. It’s the first time I’ve put myself out publicly in a creative way for no other reason than to try and contribute to my community. I’m really excited.

 Where do you expect to be in five years both personally and professionally? 

In 5 years I expect to be here, in Kern County, working in education, helping students, and celebrating the good this community has to offer.