“Vivi, do you remember that you said you wanted to be a teacher when you were little?” My tia recently said this when my mom told her that I was a doctor now. A first-generation daughter of Puerto Ricans from the island. “Mis antepasadas” are smiling down on me, especially mi abuelita. Yes, antepasadas, the lineage of women of the past, with the current women in my life that I owe my education to. They all paved the way.
The women in my life helped me believe that I could do and be anything, and even after a bachelor’s and master’s degree, and two babies later, these women were there when at 44 years old I decided to go back to school for my doctorate. With an 11- and 13-year-old, I chose to go back to college to pursue a degree that less than 4% of the population receives and even less for Latinas. Yet I took a leap of faith in 2012 to begin that journey. It took me 8 years total, but through a divorce that disrupted my home and career, I completed my journey, and here I am, Doctora Vivian Robledo, the daughter of humble Puertorriqueños. I modeled strength and perseverance for my sons who are currently college students themselves.
I don’t remember telling my tia that I wanted to be a teacher, but education has been my career for the last 23 years and my doctorate degree is in education. You too can choose to go back to school at any point in your life. Make a plan and a decision and find the support you need to make it happen. My mother, my children, partner, and many good friends were my grounding along the way. You can do it. Believe in yourself!
Dra. (Doctora) Vivian Robledo
(pronouns used she, her, hers)
Director of Student Services & Minority Affairs
Foster Care Point of Contact
Title IX Coordinator – Students