A first-generation college student and single parent when she first started on her educational journey at Cypress College, Evelyn Hernandez said the college has been her home away from home since day one. She is a proud member of EOPS, a program she learned of by happenstance.
“I recall accidentally walking into some random office hoping they’d be able to help me, and it was the best mistake I ever made,” she said.
Evelyn is graduating with an associate of science degree in radiologic technology. After earning her American Registry of Radiologic Technologists credential, she hopes to work in computed tomography (CT) and possibly cross-train in a catheterization lab. She also hopes to attend Cal State Northridge in the future.
“I want to continue growing and set an example for my kids,” she said. “I want them to be proud of the person I worked so hard to become. I want them to know anything is possible with hard work and a little effort.”
Please tell us a little about yourself. Where did you grow up? What are your interests? What is your story?
I’m currently married with two wonderful little girls, and I’ve lived in Orange County for most of my life.
Why did you choose Cypress College?
Choosing Cypress is the best decision I’ve ever made. I love the campus, the atmosphere, the diversity. From day one I felt it was my second home away from home. I had made an attempt to start college at a different campus before, and it was just the complete opposite. Cypress and its faculty have always felt welcoming when I felt the most insecure. I was a first-generation college student, a single parent, didn’t know anything about the application process or even where to go. I just remember feeling incredibly overwhelmed and vulnerable. I recall accidentally walking into some random office hoping they’d be able to help me and it was the best mistake I ever made. Thank you, EOPS; without you I wouldn’t be standing here with my peers!
What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded?
I was a proud member of EOPS for two years. The staff was amazing—you could really tell how invested everyone in the program was with the students. They helped me stay on track and push myself; to be honest our success is just a reflection of their hard work at hand. Thanks, Alan Reza!
What are you most passionate about? Why?
Definitely helping others. Someday, I want to make the same impact my professors and program director had on me, with others. I want to pass on my knowledge with that same enthusiasm they carry; they have a gift, and I’m thankful for that. Who knows, maybe becoming a Cypress College professor in the future could be next on my checklist.
Who are the faculty and staff that have helped you get where you are today?
Many have helped me get where I am today. My family, friends, and staff, but I’d really like to thank Ms. Lynn Mitts. I’ve always sold myself short, but she’s always made me feel like I could accomplish anything when I didn’t even believe in myself. I’d also like to thank Dr. Michael Frianeza; his enthusiasm is the reason I sealed the deal and decided to become a radiologic technologist on day one. Mr. Barry Siegel, who has selflessly poured his heart and soul aiding us all throughout the program. Ms. Phan Pak and Mr. Gary Binoya, for helping us swim not sink, your patience and support was just what we needed. Thank you all for always going above and beyond!
What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?
After completing my studies I hope to continue to grow in my facility. Computer Tomography (CT) is definitely my next goal.
What are your long-term goals? What do you aspire to?
I definitely need to start working on my bachelor’s, sooner rather than later. I want to continue growing and set an example for my kids. I want them to be proud of the person I worked so hard to become! I want them to know anything is possible with hard work and a little effort.
What are you most proud of?
I’m proud of my mom: rough life, single parent of three, always working hard to make ends meet. I’ve never told her, but she’s MY role model. Thanks for doing the best that YOU could for us. We love you, even if you don’t hear us say it often enough.
What one bit of advice would you give to current and future Cypress College students?
No one is born a professional, a little time and perseverance goes along way. Be patient, work hard, and you’ll be a recipe for success. Most important of all, always help those around you; someday they’ll be able to give you a hand when you most need it.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I want to thank all the people that have been on this journey with me, especially my friends and family. It’s been a hell of a ride and it’s finally coming to an end. Thank you for ALL your support, you guys were my rock!
I also want to thank my Clinical Instructor and the rest of the staff in my clinical site. Thank you for taking the time to teach me everything you know; I’m eternally grateful. I’m sure I was a headache sometimes, but thank you for not giving up on me. I hope to continue to grow and to make you all proud. Remember, I’m only as good as the sum of all your best parts, thank you!