Vanessa Medina

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

                  CSUB prepared me well for my first job experience post-graduation with the excellent education I received. I was immediately able to use my knowledge on the job which helped me be successful.

What career advice would you give our students?

                  I would encourage students to choose a career that they love and are passionate about. It isn’t necessarily about the amount of money that you will make (although money is always nice!) but having a career that you look forward to working at every day.

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

                  I first became interested in my career because of couple undergraduate classes. I knew I wanted a career that was dedicated to helping people but I wasn’t sure which direction I wanted to go. I ended up taking more and more classes in the field I found interesting which directed me to my current career as a therapist.

What do you attribute your success to? 

                  I feel that the education I received at CSUB provided such an important foundation to my success. I had incredible professors who inspired me to learn more, to be better and to work hard.

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

                  I am constantly looking up new research and techniques which I share with my team on weekly basis. I encourage my team members to research areas that interest them and bring back to the group. I feel that with this openness for new research – we can continue to grow as professionals. We work closely as a team and are constantly learning from each other as well.

What are the most important decisions that you face daily as a leader in your organization? 

                  I feel the most important decisions I face daily is the type of treatment that is decided on for the children we work with. I am staffing cases daily with my Clinicians to find the right treatment to address the symptoms that the children are dealing with to move towards healing.

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

                  I completed my Master’s Degree. I remember being in the middle of the difficult program thinking to myself, “How am I going to be able to finish this, maintain a full-time job AND have a ‘normal’ life?” It was challenging, especially with the 30 plus page papers and finals but looking back on it now – it was a time in my life that I found I was stronger than I ever realized.

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

                  I have had to face hardships in my professional and personal life throughout my school career and professional career. I found that striving to keep a positive outlook and using humor has helped me through some very dark times. The challenges of life can be difficult to manage and for me, having a good sense of humor along with a good support system, helped me navigate these challenges instead of being overwhelmed by them.

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

                  My father has been my role model throughout my life, not just early in my life. My father’s family were coal miners and farm laborers. He faced many challenges as a minority which he has had to deal with throughout his life and career. He was the first person in his family to go to college and went on to get a Master’s Degree. He showed me with hard work and perseverance, you can achieve any goal you set your mind to. He is a kind, generous, loving man with a work ethic I have never seen in anyone else. I hope I can live up to be half the amazing individual that he is.

Which accomplishment are you most proud of? 

                  This is a difficult question to answer. There are many accomplishments I am proud of within my family. However, for my own personal growth I am most proud of my double major with my BA and completing my graduate degree.

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

                  I hope to continue to grow my private practice and expand it to include veterans. I would love to open my non-profit to help those with PTSD (victims of domestic violence, veterans, trauma survivors, etc.). I will always continue to improve myself as a therapist to better serve my clients as well as those that I supervise clinically.