Humberto Merino-Hernandez is currently an economics graduate student and statistics teacher’s assistant at Tufts University. Before moving to Boston, he graduated from California State University Long Beach with a B.S. in Financial Economics. He proudly served the with the City Year Los Angeles from 2014-2015. Upon graduating from Tufts, he hopes to return to Los Angeles and pursue a career in education policy research as well as teach economics at the community college level.
After graduating from California State University Long Beach, I thought that I wanted to pursue a career in regulatory finance. However, the thought of having a number crunching office job was hard to stomach. Instead, I decided to take a gap year by emerging myself in a cause that would help me discover my true interests. I attended a City Year information session and was immediately intrigued by their idealistic mission, well-established reputation, and open hearted environment. Although the career shift surprised many of my peers, it has made all the difference in shaping who I became after my year of service and all that I hope to accomplish in the near future.
City Year helped me establish the values and principles for a lifetime of service for others.
The truth is that it can be very difficult to witness the harsh realities that students face within our broken education system. But, I also learned that there are just as many solutions to these problems and that change can happen if people come together as a movement. With the support of my team and City Year leadership, I was able to bring positive change to the lives of my students.
I always remember a story told by the Executive Director at one of our trainings. She mentioned that every time she would leave for work, her nephew would ask her why she was wearing a “NASA astronaut costume.” Apparently her nephew thought that the City Year uniform shared a striking resemblance to an astronaut uniform. Over the years, the analogy became clear to her as she thought - maybe we really are like NASA astronauts. After all, we are just one big team collecting data, tracking progress, and reassessing techniques, with the ultimate goal of launching a rocket. Perhaps the students that we serve are the rockets - our techniques are the support system that we provide for our students, and the launch day is when our students graduate from high school and go out into the world full of potential. This story was pivotal in the sense that it constantly reminded me why I joined City Year.
Nevertheless, I left City Year knowing that my service was not over and that my life would now be dedicated to advancing this mission for the years to come. For that reason, my significant other and I decided moved to Boston where she serves with City Year Boston and I began my Master’s in Economics. Upon graduating, we hope to fulfill our dream of changing the education system by spearheading research in academic intervention policies and educational equity.
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