May 15, 2020
My name is Carola Solano-Humerez. I was born in Bolivia. I am the proud mother of four children: one is a CSUSM graduate and currently attends San Diego State University; another is attending San Francisco State University; and I have a teenager and a six-year-old. My husband is also a graduate from CSUSM and is an Education Specialist. The love for learning runs in our family, as does serving our marginalized populations.
Since the age of 18, I have been serving Migrant families, at first in the health sector. Once I became a teacher, I ensured that I worked in schools that served migrant families. Coming to this country as an immigrant, I know firsthand the obstacles our children and families face and I know exactly their potential if given proper support. That is why I have devoted my career to serving our Migrant population as they hold a special place in my heart. I have witnessed the lack of structure and supports available for our newcomer students throughout school districts. After over a decade as an educator I chose to leave the classroom setting and became a Migrant Education Region IX Coordinator with San Diego County Office of Education.
I was part of the Integrated Credential Program at CSUSM where I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Studies and a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. I then pursued my Master’s in Education and I am currently enrolled in the Joint Doctoral program at CSUSM/UCSD.
Getting here has definitely not been an easy road. Since the age of 14 I have been working full time and going to school full time. One way or another, it always worked out. I carry with me the mentality of always Sí Se Puede, but I take it to another level. I remind myself constantly: Sí Se Puede, Sí Se Pudo, Sí Se Va Poder. One thing I learned throughout my journey at CSUSM and now UCSD is that humanity lives so deeply in people who want to see me succeed, and just as so many individuals poured onto me their knowledge and love, I feel it is my turn to do that for others who are starting or struggling through their journey.
Be fearless in your pursuit to live the life you dreamt of living. Never stop learning, and always remember where you came from and the people who believed in you from day one. Pour onto others as others have poured onto you, and never be afraid of standing up for what is right, especially when it comes to children’s needs and the pursuit of social justice and equity.
I feel eternal pride in what we have been able to accomplish in Migrant Education with regards to bringing high quality programs to the children of farmworkers. The caliber of our programs has been recognized at all levels. We recently received an award for bringing equity to STEAM through programs we have built and provide to all our Migrant students. In collaboration with the CSUSM Center for Research and Engagement (CRESE) STEAM Ambassadors we have built our very first Migrant Education Makerspace. Our students participate in a fun-filled day of learning and empowerment. They begin their morning as future engineers, tinkering in the CRESE STEAM center. They then continue exploring CSUSM with guided tours offered by students from the Dreamers Resource Center. Their day ends with a collective group picture in front of the Cesar Chavez Monument. Last summer we had over 500 students participate in this experience. Building programs at this caliber for our Migrant students has been an amazing accomplishment I will forever carry in my heart.
Throughout my career I have received many teacher awards, community awards, service awards, and recognitions, but my greatest pride is the hearts my children carry in serving humanity and their pursuit to do so as they grow up and become leaders themselves. Also, I still keep in contact with all the newcomer students I taught in middle school. When I attend their college graduations, I give them the first paper they wrote with me titled, “My Future Self.” To me, being at their graduations allows me to complete the full circle and keep the promise I made to them during middle school: that no matter what I will always be there for them as a teacher and a friend.
One of the proudest parts of my life is also knowing I come from two immigrant parents who knew nothing of this country and who didn’t understand the language, customs or culture, yet who were able to instill in us perseverance, a love for education, a strong work ethic, and integrity. For them I will forever be grateful because they kept us just as rooted in our culture, our language, and our customs as if we lived in our land. This has lived in us deeply and continues to live in our children as they pursue their path to greatness :)