Kenya Maria Pineda: Cal State LA Legacy & Aspiring Community Leader

Name: Kenya Maria Pineda

Year: Senior

Major: Urban Learning, Education Specialist

Hometown: East Hollywood

Relationship Status: Single

Favorite color: Green

Describe yourself in 3 words:     Anything for Selenas.

Are you involved on campus, if so which organizations and/or clubs?

I am the ASI Charter College of Education representative. I am also set as treasurer for ULRNSA, Urban Learning Student Association.

What are some things you like about the organizations and/or clubs you're a part of? 

I like that there’s potential. I like that our purpose is to give back to the students and to advocate for student rights. I like the responsibility that it gives me.

What's your favorite type of music?

Selena. I like anything that makes me feel good, but it’s just a wide range of music, it can be a wide range of genre that can speak to my soul. Like my Ipod has the weirdest selection of music. That can go from Celia Cruz to 2000 Britney, it’s such a wide range of stuff.

What are a few of your hobbies?

I like to cook and I like to bake. Trying new recipes, and especially sweets, I have a killer brownie recipe, I also like doing crafts, like painting on canvas, knitting, making my own clothes. I love glitter, like an abundance of glitter.

What do you like most about Cal State LA? 

What I like about Cal State LA the most is it’s ability to provide opportunities for people from different backgrounds, circumstances and situations. Cal State LA allowed my mother, a single mother of three, to get an education. Not just an undergrad and a credential, but a masters’ degree as well, which in turn paved the path for me to be able to come here one day. I’m essentially following the footsteps of my mother and that’s what I love the most about Cal State LA.

I see you’re running for ASI Elections 2017-2018, why should students vote for you?

I think people should vote for me for Charter College of Education Representative in ASI because I have the experience and I have the leadership qualities that would make a great CCOE Rep. I’ve already been the rep for several months now, I was appointed at the end of last semester and I successfully implemented 2 CPR trainings, a social for nighttime students and I’m also currently working on events that go towards other colleges, as well. So I’m not just focusing on what my college needs, but I’m focusing on what the university needs as a whole. I think those are things that would make me a really great candidate for the Charter College of Education representative again for next year.

What are some of the plans you have in store for the upcoming year?

If elected into ASI, one of the things I want to work with, for my college specifically, is holding more events at night. We tried that for this semester and it went really really well, you know, we had the CPR trainings that were hosted from like 5 to 9 PM and from like 4 to 7, and that really helped because a lot of the people within my college work during the day in schools. So being able to come on campus to events that are held after traditional school ends then that really helps with their schedules. We also held another event at night which was a social for students within CCOE to meet each other, to get some refreshments, some snacks, and to mingle with one another. It was a really great opportunity for people who are education majors to network with one another, to get resources, find someone to be a mentor, or be a mentor to someone else. I think a lot more night events would be conducive to the type of college we are, and in addition to that I also want to have plans to work closely with other colleges, that’s one of the things that I think is going to really step up the game here at Cal State LA for students, is to bring them in together by working with other people. I think the colleges do a lot of work on their own, but they don’t branch off with other colleges and work together so in doing that I feel it will create a better atmosphere here at Cal State LA. It’ll create a space where more students feel that they can come to school and stay at school for events rather than it just being a commuter college.

What do you plan to do after college?

Well currently, I’m a student attempting to get an undergrad and a credential to be able to teach so once I finish with college, of course I’m going to come back and attempt a masters’ degree, and hopefully one day go for my EDD, which is an educational doctorate. More short-term, I think I’m going to teach, I want to get my credentials so that I can teach, specifically Special Education. Either early elementary or high school, those are the ages of students that really interest me the most and I hope to focus more on schools that have marginalized communities, so that I can work with students of color, students in poverty, student who are LGBTQA. I work with a variety of students, that I feel the education system is currently letting down. I want to be the inside man, be the person that’s making the change in the education system, actively and within the classrooms.

What advice would you give to other students about joining student government on campus?

I'd tell people to just do it. I was having serious problems in my educational program. I felt like I wasn't being supported. I felt like I wasn't being given the educational experience I deserved as a paying student. I turned to dean's and administrators, but I still wasn't receiving help. I was a student leader looking for solutions for a large group of students who were frustrated about their educational experience. I finally took the final leap I thought I had and reached out to my student government with several other students and found that there was an entire organization of people who wanted to support us and help us and give us the educational experience every student deserves. When I realized that there was a group of people who were advocating for students and working selflessly for students, I felt like it was something to be a part of. It's important to look at student government and find where you fit in. There are so many positions and so many duties and so many opportunities to get involved. There's a place for everyone in student government. I found what I wanted to do and applied myself. The support system I have in student government gives me the opportunity to succeed. Everyone in student government wants to help you and wants to see you excel so no matter how little time you think you have, how little experience, or how little understanding of what your student government does for you, there is a place for you to flourish, grow, and thrive.