“I didn’t speak English when my family came to the U.S. from Peru — I had the basic grammar but it was very difficult to understand it. My whole family and I went to ESL classes. My sister and I had gone to school in Lima, and my parents always wanted us to have careers. They were a little in shock when I got married and had my first baby at 20, but it was good to stay home with my girls when they were young, and I always knew I’d go back to school when they were a little older.
“I got to the point where I wondered, what am I going to do next? I wanted to find a job where I could take the girls with me to work, and I found a job at the Peanut Gallery at The Galleria, where I worked for a year and a half. Next, I worked as a nanny and did that for several years. I realized that I was ready to go to school and study, so in 2006 I started the Child Development program at Brookhaven.
“My professors have always really supported me. In fact, Bernadette Rodriguez helped me get my current job at Early Childhood Intervention (ECI); they were looking for a bilingual person to work with children and families. I do public outreach at five WIC clinics and at one pediatric office; I talk to families about my program and answer their questions; meanwhile, I keep receiving training and gaining more knowledge from workshops, seminars and conferences.
“I want to learn as much as I can about child development so that I can help parents understand their children better. Parent education is my ultimate goal, and I especially have an interest in working with Hispanic parents to help them understand the education system here and assimilate better into this culture. I want to help parents become empowered with the tools they need to help their children reach their full potential so they can work along with their teachers on behalf of their education. My next goal is to get my associate degree and then to see about getting a bachelor’s degree in arts and sciences.
“At Brookhaven, the Child Development professors are so passionate about what they do; they really pay attention to each individual and are very supportive. They not only want us to learn but also to understand what we’re learning — and they care so much! Every step I’ve taken in my education takes lots of effort because I wasn’t born in the U.S.; sometimes it takes me twice as long to complete homework as people who speak English as their first language.
“Many doors opened for me when I started studying at Brookhaven — it’s important to know that if you give your best, many more doors will open for you in the future.”
Carol Egusquiza is completing an associate degree in Child Development at Brookhaven and plans to eventually earn a bachelor’s degree.