2022 Social Sciences: Mireya Alt

Student Mireya Alt poses in front of Cypress College Student Center while wearing graduation regalia.

Despite the difficult series of roadblocks Mireya Alt has encountered on her higher education journey, her overriding experience at college appears to be one of gratitude.

The challenges Mireya faced include childhood trauma and a period of homelessness – extremely difficult situations that might have ended anyone’s college plans. Yet Mireya never gave up on her goals, and found a way to achieve her dreams.

And instead of feeling exhausted or weary, Mireya feels thankful. She’s grateful for her family, she’s grateful for to faculty and staff at Cypress College, and perhaps, grateful to herself for staying hopeful through hardship.

Please tell us about yourself. Where did you grow up? What are your Interests? What is your story?

I was born and raised in South Central Los Angeles. My mother and father were immigrants from Mexico and had nine children. I am the third-oldest of the bunch. My siblings and I survived so much growing up in South Central Los Angeles and have worked hard to overcome a traumatic childhood. Now I am a mother of four amazing children. They fill my days with joy, dinos, and jokes. I’m surrounded by amazing people and I can’t help but feel blessed to have lived the life I have, even when it was hard. It has not always been easy, but it has been worth it. My greatest joy has been inviting God into my life. That is when all the really amazing changes began to happen. My interests are psychology, barrel-racing (horses), and raising my boys.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

The passion that drives me to wake up every day and know that life is worth living is knowing that my life has a purpose. I was born to help others heal. One day, I may make an impact in people’s lives the way that the people in my life who have taken their time to teach me, guide me, and counsel me, changed my life and my children’s lives.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

I chose Cypress because it was the closest college to my children’s school. Also, my sister-in-law Esbeyde C. Soltero is an alumna. It was not until I began attending that I realized that not only is Cypress College the #1 Community College in California, but I soon learned that all the professors, staff, and affiliates truly invest in a student’s success. I’m glad I didn’t know before attending Cypress College because I got the opportunity to truly experience what Cypress College is all about: “Buen Cypress.”

What have you been involved in at Cypress? How has your path Unfolded?

It has been a privilege and a blessing to be a part of the Psychology Club, a member of the Human Services Club, a part of the Psi Beta Honor Society in psychology, a student speaker at the 2022 Americana Awards gala and the Real College California Basic Needs Summit, and the Psy Beta Vice President in 2021.The professors in the Social Science Division have had a huge impact on my success at Cypress College. It has been through the connections with my professors and EOPS programs that I have been able to participate in so many amazing events. During my time at Cypress College, all my professors have made an impact on my growth at Cypress.

God blessed me in beginning with Professor Amanda Garcia, Counseling 101. Professor Garcia taught me that what I considered to be personality defects are actually traits, she taught me to love who I am and give myself permission to dream. After giving myself permission to dream Cypress College’s faculty and staff took me under their wings and mentored me. With the help of Cypress College faculty and staff and, most importantly, President Schilling, I am able to say that the journey to get here has been one of the best experiences of my life.

Share a memorable event or experience while you’ve been a Cypress College student.

I feel bad just choosing one because there have been so many memorable events. I would have to say that the moment that stands out to me the most is the moment that I almost gave up. It was my second day at Cypress College, the impostor syndrome and personal struggles had me feeling overwhelmed, I wanted to quit. As a last-ditch effort, I called my counselor Lili Perez and told her why I was not going to return. Ms. Lili gave me the most inspirational talk I have ever heard in my life!!! She made sure I understood that I belonged at Cypress College, was meant for great things and that I must not give up! If it was not for that moment I would not be here sharing my story today. Thank you, Ms. Lili!

Who are the Faculty and staff ( in your major, an academic or other support programs, etc.) who have helped you get where you are today?

Social Services Division:

Professor James Tapia’s passion for people, human services, and the way he spoke about the field made me realize it was what I was meant to do with my life.

Professor Brandi Young has such an encouraging smile, she has a way of making you feel like everything has an answer and anything is possible.

Professor Angela De Dios is all about helping her students succeed. She is passionate about what she does and can D.J. really like nobody’s business in a Zoom class.

Professor Regina Rhymes – I took so many of her classes that I didn’t need to graduate, only for the opportunity to continue learning from her. She is a remarkable person with a huge heart.

Professor Dr. Martinez is that uncle that always has words of wisdom. He will not hesitate to help you.

Professor Daniel Pueblos was always ready to help and made everything he taught sound fun.

Professor Amanda Garcia – Our counseling class was the first-ever College class she was teaching and she was my first professor. She taught me to like who I am and to give myself permission to dream.


Professor Jennifer A. Jacobs helped me find my voice

Professor David Kensinger inspired me to use my voice with confidence.


Director of EOPS Anne-Marie Ruelas – The most down-to-earth person you will ever meet. Director Ruelas has this amazing kindness and ability to believe in others.

Ms. Lili Perez – Students and Staff biggest cheerleader! She inspired me and motivated me. Believed I could achieve what I thought was impossible.

Ms. Christian Barrios connected me with the Soroptimist of Huntington Beach Int. She brought pizza when my children became homeless and even went as far as writing a recommendation letter so my kids and I could get an apartment. She is amazing!

Ms. Eva Palomares always listened to my concerns, she encourages me to take give myself some credit when it’s hard. Ms. Eva always makes sure I have what I need to succeed.

Ms. Bryceida Maldonado put up with so many of my shenanigans even at my age. She was always supportive and loving. She brought us pizza when my children became homeless. Ms. Bryceida has a big heart for her students.

Mr. Alan Reza put together my ED Plan and guided me on the academic path. EOPS Staff was always super supportive!

Admissions and Records: Student Hourly employment at Cypress College.

Dr. David Booze, the best way I can describe him is by quoting him. When I asked him how he told himself it was OK to succeed he said “I never knew I could not.” He made sure I was able to keep my job while I was homeless and has always been such a supportive boss.

Mrs. Nahid Salkovieh does not know this, but she is like a mother to me. During some of the most difficult times when life was not making sense, she would stop whatever she was doing to talk to me. Mrs. Nahid made sure that I was not able to perform my job effectively but fulfill my duties as a student and a mother.

Ms. Christy Montenegro has always been a support from the moment I walked into the Admissions and Records office. Her hard work and dedication have always inspired me to try my best. She became a monitor and like a sister to me.

Mr. Dustin Nguyen Mr. Tuan has always been that silent support. The person who I could always count on for help. His kindness always made me feel welcomed at Admissions and Records. Admission and Records Staff and Hourlies.

My family – They have always felt at home. Work never felt like work because of them. They always helped me when I needed support and understanding.

Mr. Marc Posner Director of communications – Even though I only met him toward the end of my time at Cypress College he is one of the best people I have ever met. He quickly becomes like a father figure and supporter. Wish I would have met him earlier.

Last but not least – President JoAnna Schilling changed my life and opened doors for me in ways I could have never imagined. Dr. Schilling is an inspiration and a role model. Her heart and passion for Cypress College and its students show in how she gives everything she has into making sure we have everything we need to succeed.

How has Cypress College supported you throughout your time at the College?

Cypress College has some of the most amazing professors who inspired me to reach for the stars. The Cypress College Foundation helped with books and financial grants that help my children and me stay afloat. The Cypress College DSS program helped with accommodation when I would suffer from anxiety or depression in my hardest times. The EOPS program blessed my children and me with emotional, financial, and academic support. Cypress College gave me a job as a student hourly so that I can continue my studies while being able to provide for my children as a single mother.

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College?

After Cypress College, I will be transferring to Biola University to continue my education in the field of Psychology and my path with God. But I will never stop being a Charger!

What are your long-term goals? What do you aspire to?

I would like to preach the Gospel and help others heal. Also, I would like to become a clinical psychologist specializing in Equine Therapy, working with patients from inner cities, Veterans with PTSD, Women, and Children victims of domestic violence, and people with low self-esteem, through interaction with horses and therapy.

What are you most proud of?

That I chose to surround myself with amazing people that love me just as I am. My cup runneth over. Love is truly what matters in the end, the rest is a sprinkle of coolness.

What bit of advice would you give to current and future Cypress College students?

Do not give up. Plan, dream, seek, ask for help, find solutions, and make friends. Choose what is hard so that when you look back you would know it was all worth it. Most importantly trust yourself and believe you can do it. Cypress College will handle the rest.

Is there anyone, in particular, you’d like to thank?

It took a village to raise me, inspire me, and bless my children and me. I could only thank the person who placed such remarkable people in our lives, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He has been so good!

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

To my family and friends – Thank you! To Mariana and Mama Michelle – Thank you! To Cypress College faculty and staff for your hard work, dedication, and support, I take you with me on the next phase of my journey. Cypress College became the house that build me and, for that, I cannot thank you enough. BUEN CYPRESS! Thank you, Lord!