Graduate student Profile
Posted on by Harshavardhan Kosireddy

CSUN Gave Its Newest Graduates the Tools to Achieve Their Dreams

Members of the graduating class of 2024 found a home at California State University, Northridge. It was a place that empowered them and gave them the tools to break cultural and generational barriers, and to fulfill dreams first imagined decades earlier.

More than 10,900 students are eligible to take part in CSUN commencement exercises this week. Each student has a personal story of hard work, perseverance and success.
Read few other stories over here.

 Keyly Sandoval, B.S. in Family and Consumer Sciences, with a minor in Gender and Women’s Studies

Keyly Sandoval

Before she could read, Keyly Sandoval’s mother was encouraging her daughter to go to college. Her parents immigrated from Guatemala when her mother was pregnant with her to ensure better opportunities, especially educational opportunities, for their child.

“She’d say ‘I want you to be somebody,’” said Sandoval, 24, of Tarzana. “Every day, since I was in pre-K, she would tell me, ‘You are going to college.’”

The problem was, Sandoval wasn’t sure she was cut out for college. A high school counselor convinced her that she could succeed in college, so she applied. Her grades weren’t the best, but the counselor told her about CSUN’s Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) and the support it would offer students like her. She decided to give it a shot and was accepted.

“EOP gave me a chance,” she said. “They look at students who have potential but because of their community or life circumstances may not be able to reach that potential without a little bit of help. They create a community, a big family, that makes you feel supported and provides you with a mentor and people who you can trust and can relate to you. And I am forever grateful.”

Sandoval enrolled at CSUN in 2018 with an eye on getting a degree in criminology and justice studies but wasn’t sure if the major was the best fit, even though she hopes to one day practice law. She eventually switched majors to family and consumer sciences, with an emphasis on working with children and families. 

“Families are essentially what helps a child develop to the best of their abilities,” she said. “I don’t come from a perfect family, no one really does. I wanted to be able to have the knowledge to help other families.”

It’s knowledge that she said that will carry over to her future family law practice. She recently completed an internship with a family court judge and found that her major provided her unique insight into some of the cases that appeared before the court. 

“I have a deeper understanding of why things are the way they are, and why the child’s needs should always be placed before the parents’,” she said. “Most times, you’ll see the children are stuck in the crossfire of the parents. They kind of forget the child in the effort to get their point across. But the judge is so amazing and reminds them that we’re here because we want what’s best for the child.”

In addition to her internship, Sandoval has served as an EOP mentor, volunteered at CSUN’s Women’s Research and Resource Center providing support to fellow students in need and was president of The F Word (the Feminist Student Association for Community Learning in Intersectional Transnational Transfeminism), an all-inclusive feminist club. She also works part-time for an athleisure wear company, as a research assistant job on campus and has a side gig tutoring children in English and math. She joked that she sets aside Mondays for sleep.

Sandoval called her time at CSUN “eye opening.”

“I discovered things about myself that I didn’t know,” said Sandoval, who took some time off from her studies to deal with medical issues. “I was about to figure out my goals. I came in with a mentality that this is what I want to do. Then somewhere along the line it completely changed. I think being able to have that open-mindedness to accept that things won’t always go the way you planned is a good thing.”

Sandoval is scheduled to receive her degree during the commencement ceremony for the College of Health and Human Development on Sunday, May 19. In the meantime, she’s studying for the LSATs.

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