Compton College Open Doors and Paves the Way to UC Berkeley for Parent

Photo of Noemi Reyes

At the age of 17, Noemi Reyes' life was transformed when she became a mother of a beautiful baby boy. In that instant she realized she needed to lay a strong foundation for her future and be a role model to her son, despite obstacles she would inevitably face as a teen mom.

Reyes knew that higher education was the answer, but she first had to address a couple of barriers that were holding her back. She had completed high school through Attended Opportunities for Learning, a home-study program, and was nervous about making the transition from homeschool to college. In addition, she struggled to find the affordable and flexible childcare she would need as a student-parent.

Compton College became Reyes' springboard to success. Compton College's programs and resources provided the support she was looking for to obtain an associate degree and transfer. She initially joined the First Year Experience (FYE) program. "FYE assists first-time college students and was instrumental in encouraging me to go further and take that extra step," says Reyes. The FYE program coordinator also helped Reyes enroll her son in on-campus childcare, as well as make an educational plan for her future at Compton College and beyond.

Another important resource for Reyes was Extended Opportunities and Program Services (EOPS), which offers supplemental services to student-parents via the Cooperative Agencies Resources for Education (CARE) program. EOPS/CARE eased the burden of Reyes' financial worries by providing extra funds for books and supplies.

Having an interest in math and science, Reyes was introduced to the Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement (MESA) program at Compton College. Joining MESA was perhaps most pivotal in helping Reyes reach her academic and transfer goals. Through Compton College's MESA center, she received tutoring, academic and professional advising as well as life skills training, all of which contributed to the positive learning experience she had in her math, science and engineering courses. While all of this support benefited her as a student, it also helped her as a mother by helping Reyes learn the importance of self-confidence, a lesson she hopes to pass down to her son.

Reyes' newfound confidence led to a prestigious internship and scholarship through NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), in addition to acceptance letters from University of California Irvine, Los Angeles, Davis and Berkeley. Upon graduation with an associate degree from Compton College in June 2017, she ultimately decided that UC Berkeley was the best choice for her and her son. "UC Berkeley's Student Parent Center offers an amazing community of student-parents and families," says Reyes. "My son and I were both so excited to move. I am already taking full advantage of all of the great resources at UC Berkeley."

Reyes is the first in her family to attend a four-year university and is majoring in biochemistry. She is interested in medical school and a career in medical research.

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