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Story in the College of Arts & Sciences

Figueroa Renteria photo

Sandra Figueroa Renteria '03

Sociology major
At a glance:

Sociology major's field work at a women's shelter grounds her decision to go the social service route.

Sandra Renteria learned through hands-on research what she wanted to do with her career.

As an undergraduate sociology major, she conducted research at a women’s shelter, taking a resource in inventory of the residents’ skills.
A fluent Spanish speaker, Renteria’s skills were essential for conducting the interviews. She talked to many of the residents, quantified the individuals’ abilities, and documented them in graphs. She said the final presentation at the shelter was emotional for many of the women, who felt their skills were valued for the first time.
“The idea is that women can help each other out. It helps build confidence,” Renteria says.
The experience was transformational for her, too.
“It confirmed for me that I wanted to work in a social service field. I felt comfortable with the women; it felt like I could really help. It felt like something I should do, something I had to do,” she says.
Renteria now works at a juvenile center in San Jose.
"I feel good about what I'm doing," she says. "This just comes naturally to me."
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