Before I became involved with the Fulfillment Fund, my life was in transition.
I had arrived in Los Angeles in September 1989, and had been bused from South Central to school in Santa Monica for four or five years. I was pretty tired of the commute. My family was in constant change as well. The familial problems and responsibilities could have become a burden but school was always a way out. I had just been transitioned from ESL to mainstream classes and I was learning English fast.
When I was 14, the future I envisioned for myself was bleak. I really liked school but also realized early on that we were a working-class family. My mother had raised us by herself and I had begun working in retail for a family member.
I was an angry teenager, but then life began to change when I met my Fulfillment Fund mentor Dee Nasatir, much to the persistence of Jane Waterhouse, who started the Fulfillment Fund's mentoring program. Thank goodness!
The Fulfillment Fund helped me by introducing me to my second family. Though not biological, Dee and her husband Michael Nasatir (and the rest of the gang), have become my familia. I love them. They are the other two-thirds of my parents, along with my mother, Josefina.
Going to college changed my life because ... look at me now. I keep learning and growing. The opportunity to attend college opened up many different worlds and allowed me to cross uncharted terrains.
Today my life is entering yet another transition. In fall 2012, I am starting a tenure-track position at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico. I am ready to settle down and to return to the Southwest and be closer to familia.
If it were not for the Fulfillment Fund, I would be ... who knows where I would be, though I've always had a fire inside me to persevere, to discover, to learn, to continue growing. I get that from my mom Josefina.
After three degrees and a post-doctorate in Critical Literacies and Pedagogy at Hampshire College, Massachusetts and becoming a U.S. citizen on April 18, 2012, I know that I owe much of my success to the Fulfillment Fund and especially to Dee and Mike. My mother Josefina’s unconditional support and love is also irreplaceable and continues to be necessary.
Judith Flores Carmona, Ph.D., was the Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the School of Critical Social Inquiry at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts from fall 2010-spring 2012. In fall 2012 she will relocate to Las Cruces, New Mexico to become a professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction and in the Honors College at New Mexico State University. She received her B.A. and M.A. from California State University, Monterey Bay, and in May 2010, earned a doctorate in Sociology of Education from the Department of Education, Culture, and Society at the University of Utah.