HDFS student wants to help minority students achieve their goals

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Portrait of Elizabeth Pascacio

HDFS student wants to help minority students achieve their goals

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Meet Health Hero Elizabeth Pascacio

A fourth-year, first-generation Hispanic student from Nyssa, Oregon, Elizabeth Pascacio hopes to work in a high school environment, where she can support students and collaborate with families to help them navigate resources and achieve their dreams. 

What inspired or interested you about your field of study? And why did you choose OSU/the college? 

After exploring different majors in the College of Business, I realized I wasn't in the right place, and I began my search for other majors at the start of fall 2022. 

I knew one of my career goals was working with students or farm-working families, and I've always had a passion for helping others. This led me to conclude that majoring in human development and family sciences was the best route to begin my career in helping others.

I will acquire a wide range of abilities because HDFS is broadly applicable in the workforce. After taking courses related to my field, I was intrigued and determined to continue with this major.  I also added a minor in Spanish to better my Spanish-speaking skills so I can help a broader population. Breaking language barriers is essential in my career. 

I chose Oregon State because I was exposed to the university when I was in middle school and high school as part of an after-school program I participated in called S.M.I.L.E (Science & Math Investigative Learning Experience). 

This program partners with Oregon State, and every year we participate in a challenge course at Western Oregon University and finish at Oregon State University. 

I loved the campus and how all the buildings were close together. It felt safe and almost like a home away from home. 

I also got accepted into the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP), which helps migrant/farm-working students navigate their first year of college. 

Once I was accepted, I knew OSU was the right university and I would be able to find my community.  

Have you had to overcome any challenges in your academic journey? 

As a first-generation college student, navigating higher education presented significant challenges. 

The last thing I wanted to face was financial stress or asking my parents to help me. I also faced challenges in accessing resources; however, I received assistance from my sister who was the first in my family to attend college.

Over time, I learned to reach out to my academic counselors, who provided guidance and support.

Do you participate in campus or community clubs or organizations? 

I am part of TRIO Student Support Services, the Association of Latin American Students Club and the College Assistance Migrant Program. I'm also a customer service representative for University Housing and Dining. 

Have you completed an internship? If so, where and what did you learn from the experience? 

I completed an internship at College Hill Alternative High School, which primarily serves students who are falling behind on credits and helps them get on the right track to graduate. 

Throughout this internship, I’ve had the opportunity to gain skills such as being conversational and adaptable. I found I enjoy assisting students while encouraging them to seek support and resources. 

I learned that working with students from different backgrounds is a challenging but very wholesome experience. 

I belive it’s important to work with individuals from diverse backgrounds because it enriches our experiences, enhances our understanding of the world around us, and contributes to building more inclusive and equitable communities. 

Have you received a scholarship? If so, how has it affected your life and your studies? 

I’ve received scholarships that have made a huge impact on my educational journey. Without them, I would have reconsidered my education and what path I would have taken. 

As a first-generation student from a low-income family, it’s not impossible to attend college, but it’s definitely a great obstacle. 

A thank you is not enough, and I truly appreciate receiving these scholarships. I believe all scholarships I’ve received deserve recognition. It's the least I can do.  

  • Beef Northwest Scholarship 
  • 4x Lightfoot Foundation 
  • Nyssa Key Club Scholarship 
  • Margaret Frances McGinnis Scholarship 
  • Shero and Miyako Yano OSUAA Scholarship 
  • 2x S.M.I.L.E Scholarship 
  • Sister Adele Scholarship 
  • OHDC Scholarship 
  • OSU CAMP Scholars Intern (CSI) 
  • OSU Bernice Strawn Scholarship 
  • OSU Finely Academic of Excellence Scholarship 
  • TRIO SSS Grant Aid Award 
  • William and Evelyn Leary Scholarship 

What do you think of your experience at OSU and the College of Health so far? Any stand-out experiences? 

I have enjoyed my time at Oregon State University and have been able to build community and create meaningful friendships. My community, which has had a great impact on my educational journey, holds a special place in my heart. 

My experience has been challenging yet rewarding with the resources provided at OSU. 

What are your post-college dreams or plans? 

After graduation, I intend to pursue a career in a high school environment, focusing on supporting students and collaborating with families. 

I aim to empower minority students in achieving their academic and professional aspirations. Additionally, I aspire to guide minority families, helping them navigate available resources effectively. I want to use my knowledge to make a positive impact on my community.