Alumni Spotlight: Jocelyn Sanchez

Jocelyn Sanchez standing by Springfield Public Schools sign

Learn more about Jocelyn Sanchez, a Family and Human Services program alumni, through our Alumni Spotlight series.

"The Family and Human Services (FHS) program not only provided me with essential knowledge for the social services field, but it also provided me with significant personal and professional growth." – Jocelyn Sanchez

Meet Jocelyn Sanchez ('18), a Family and Human Services (FHS) alumna whose passion for advocating for social justice and equality has led her to serve students at a local school district. Jocelyn serves as the McKinney-Vento Liaison at Springfield Public Schools, where she supports students and families in transition and advocates for their access to educational opportunities and resources.

The FHS program prepared Jocelyn for her career by giving her invaluable internship opportunities, exposing her to a variety of career paths, and empowering her to contribute to building a more inclusive community.

Jocelyn is currently pursing a master’s in social work and looks forward to continuing her commitment to create an inclusive learning environment for all.

Hometown: Long Beach, California

Current job title: McKinney-Vento Liaison and Social Work Student Intern 

Why did you choose the Family and Human Services program? 

Making a positive impact on my community has been a long-standing goal of mine. When I decided to return to school, I researched the various programs at Lane Community College and the University of Oregon before ultimately pursuing the College of Education’s Family and Human Services program. Colleagues who had been part of the FHS program spoke highly of its positive impact, further influencing my decision. After creating a plan, I successfully enrolled at Lane Community College and the University of Oregon, earning my transfer and general studies degrees and my bachelor of arts. 

What has your career path looked like since graduation? 

Following graduation, I joined the Springfield Public Schools team as a McKinney-Vento Liaison in 2019. In this role, I support students and families in transition, including unaccompanied youth and newcomer students within our school district. I advocate for the rights and needs of unhoused students within the school system and ensure that unhoused students in our district have access to all educational opportunities and resources that they are entitled to under the McKinney-Vento Homelessness Assistance Act. Working as a McKinney-Vento Liaison has been an incredible experience that has given me significant personal growth and an opportunity to contribute to a more equitable and inclusive educational environment. In addition, I’m also currently pursuing my master’s in social work at Portland State University and serving as a social work student intern at Springfield Public Schools. These experiences have solidified my passion for advocating for social justice and equality, and I look forward to continuing to contribute to creating a more just and inclusive society for all individuals.  

What did you learn in the program that you found most valuable in preparing for your career? 

The Family and Human Services program not only provided me with essential knowledge for the social services field, but it also provided me with significant personal and professional growth. As a first-generation Mexican American, Chicana, and daughter of Mexican immigrants, I effectively reflected and addressed issues of identity and positionality. The FHS program equipped me with a strong foundation for the social services realm, including invaluable experiences in internship opportunities, taking Substance Abuse Prevention Program courses, learning about research, and building lifelong friendships. Ultimately, participating in the FHS program exposed me to various opportunities within the social services sector in my community. This program has empowered me to contribute towards building a more caring and inclusive community. The motivation to advocate for social justice and equality is a driving force to address systemic issues and promote inclusivity. Learning from an incredible team and students from all walks of life has been a privilege. 

If you had one piece of advice for current FHS undergrads, what would it be?

My advice for current FHS undergraduates and anyone considering joining the FHS community is to stay focused and committed to your journey. Embrace the present moment, and if you are uncertain about your future goals, remember that uncertainty is a natural part of the process and your journey. Seek support from your family and friends, community, professors, and advisors, and take every opportunity that comes your way, whether it’s internships, volunteer work, or social and networking events. Maintain your passion for helping others and remain true to yourself. Accept mistakes as learning opportunities and continue on your path with determination and resilience. Good luck with your professional and academic endeavors. Remember, trust the process and Sí Se Puede!