Jackie Tovar is a third-year first-generation student here at Cal Lutheran who is the Vice President of the Latin American Student Organization as well as the Secretary for the Pre Law Society. Being a double major in Sociology and Criminology and Criminal Justice with a minor in Gender and Women Studies have added on to Jackie finding herself interested in how her environment has impacted her, her opportunities, and how it was different for other people in her family and even those around her who might be within the same environment and how it has made them different. She feels that Sociology has clearly encompassed the nature of her curiosity and has been a perfect fit for her; and with Criminal Justice and Gender Studies, her time at CLU has interested her in it because she feels that both contain a lot of similar topic as those within Sociology. Jackie is a commuter from Piru, CA. She also works as a Student Intern for Student Support Services as well as currently doing an internship off campus. Tovar is the oldest of four, having two younger sisters and a younger brother, as well as having a rescue dog named Star.
In the future, Jackie hopes to become a lawyer; she found herself wanting to be a lawyer since her junior year of high school after participating in her high school’s Mock Trial team. Through this, she recognized that this is one way in which she could advocate for others, especially for those in underrepresented communities. Her hope to be a lawyer continues to be reaffirmed as she continues her journey through education.
Her Campus at Cal Lutheran: What’s your favorite thing about CLU?
Jackie Tovar-Bernal: My favorite thing has been Student Support Services; not only has SSS been my support system but they have also allowed me to grow and have given me so many opportunities. I am glad that there is a place on campus that understands my needs as a first generation student and a place where I can hang out and meet people who share my experiences.
HCCLU: What would you say has been your favorite memory while at Cal Lu?
JT: My favorite memory at Cal Lu has been participating in SSS’s SOAR. In the summer before my sophomore year, I was able to be a student leader which meant being a direct resource, mentor, and friend to six other first gen students who are beginning their transition into the college environment. This past summer I was able to participate as a student intern which came with a new set of responsibilities.
HCCLU: What’s the most important thing you’ve learned while in college?
JT: That everyone is different in different ways but it is okay to be different and even in our differences we are all connected.
HCCLU: What does being first gen mean to you?
JT: To me, being First Gen means everything. It means that I have been able to overcome the series of obstacles that I have had to face and continue to face. It means that all of the sacrifices my parents have made are amounting to something and it also means that I am making my family proud by being a role model, not only to my siblings, but to all of the other people who are in my same position. I am proud to be first gen.
HCCLU: Who do you look up to the most? Why?
JT: I would have to say my parents. They have always encouraged me and supported me through my journey. I know they have struggled a lot to get our family to where we are now and to make our dreams a reality. They continue to inspire me to be proud of who I am and to strive for success but have also shown me that I am more than my obstacles. I am proud of my Mexican heritage and proud of my struggles because that makes me into who I am today.
HCCLU: You’re almost going into your last year here, how does that make you feel?
JT: I have a mix of emotions. I am a little panicked because I feel like it’s all happening too fast and I feel like I’m not taking the time to enjoy it. At the same time though I’m really happy and excited that I am that much closer to making my dreams a reality.