Student Finds Her Voice in the Human Services Program

November 20, 2018

Daughter of first-generation Americans, Maria Mendoza, longs to help foster children and plans to accomplish that with a degree in Human Services from Blackhawk Technical College.  Mendoza, quiet at first, quickly warms up when speaking of her time at Brodhead High School where she graduated in 2018. After moments, one can easily see her high regard for her hard-working, loving family and her tight-knit, close community in Green County.

When choosing a college, Mendoza said picking Blackhawk was an easy choice. “I chose Blackhawk because it is close to home and has the same familiar feel as my small community.” She laughed and added, “My parents want to keep us close.” By us, she means herself as well as two older siblings. Although her older sister has moved on from Blackhawk, Mendoza and her older brother still call Blackhawk home.

Maria MendozaThe road to Blackhawk has not always been easy for Mendoza whose parents moved to the United States in 1994. As a kindergartner, Mendoza spoke very little English. Thanks to the kindness of some classmates and additional help through speech, she quickly caught up to her peers. Her childhood was filled with loss from the suicide of a family member to losing two grandparents in a year.

But you wouldn’t know these struggles from talking to her. She was in band for seven years mastering three instruments, involved in student council including holding officer positions, organized a senior citizen prom, volunteered with Youth2Youth, and more all before even leaving Brodhead High School.

Today, Mendoza is focusing on school, work and family while she adjusts to college life. “I was very nervous to move on to college; I was quiet at first. Now I feel such a connection to my instructors,” said Mendoza.

She is wrapping up her first semester at Blackhawk but has her sights on the future. Mendoza already has her full-time schedule set for next semester. She is excited to be taking a mix of online and daytime classes. The flexibility in scheduling will help her continue to work at Sunbrook Daycare in Brodhead where the children in her care range from infant to grade 4.

When asked what advice she has to offer other new college students, Mendoza said, “Don’t be afraid to talk. I was the shy one in high school so I was quiet at first. But it is different here.” She smiled and continued, “I am not quiet anymore.”

About the Human Services Program…

The Human Services associate program at Blackhawk Technical College trains students to provide information, support, care and advocacy in a human service agency. Students will acquire the skills needed to work with individuals, groups and communities and will learn to work with people of diverse racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds. General education courses included in the program develop in students a better understanding of social problems. During the second year of the program, students will have the opportunity to participate in a field experience in a human service agency.
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