April 20th, 2015
The Alumni Speakers Bureau (ASB) is a newly designed program that brings distinguished alumni back to Hostos to give motivational speeches to current students in order to inspire academic success.
Born and raised in Santiago, Dominican Republic, Idelsa Mendez immigrated to the United States in 1994. She soon realized that in order to get a better job, she would need to get a college degree.
Attending school presented many challenges for Idelsa after she enrolled at Hostos. Mendez recalls, “When I first got to college, I could barely complete a sentence in English.” Aside from the language barrier was the challenge of balancing time between working while raising her two small children. Despite these obstacles, Mendez always felt it was necessary to challenge herself and always made sure that she attended class and focused on her studies.
Student government president
Idelsa Mendez was involved in numerous extra-curricular activities which includes serving as President of the Student Government at Hostos Community College from 2005-06. She twice won the student leadership award and is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa honor’s society. After being accepted into the Summer Honors Institute, she was selected to represent Hostos Community College at the Salzburg Seminar in Austria. The experience of travelling abroad and being exposed to a new culture had a dramatic, long-lasting impact on Idelsa’s life.
Life at Lehman College
In 2006, Mendez graduated Summa Cum Laude with and Associate’s Degree in Liberal Arts from Hostos Community College. She took a semester off and then enrolled at Lehman College in 2007, again making the Dean’s list while remaining a member of Phi Theta Kappa. She took more than five classes per semester and finished her bachelor’s degree in just one year and again graduated with honors, this time with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and Health Administration from Lehman College in 2009.
“Joining CAP helped me get started with a good job working at the college.” The CUNY Counseling Assistantship Program (CAP), a tuition-assistance-work-study program, landed Mendez a part-time position with the CUNY Resource Foundation at Hostos Community College. Soon, she was offered a full-time position, which she immediately accepted.
Coordinator for Career Counseling
Idelsa Mendez currently is completing her Master’s degree requirements while working full-time at Hostos as a Coordinator for Career Counseling. Organizing job fairs, resume writing workshops, and teaching job search methods are all a part of her regular workday. Networking with employers and creating new opportunities also plays a major roll in what she does to help students and graduates of Hostos find work.
“I always felt that a first impression is extremely important.” Mendez said before explaining the Suited for Success program she helped revamp since joining in 2011. “Having the right attire for a job interview is something that a lot of people need help with and last year we’ve collected over 200 pounds of clothing for our program.” As a career counselor, Mendez also coaches students and alumni on how to prepare and conduct themselves in a job interview.
The Career Services Office at Hostos provides students with career direction and employment options through individual and group counseling, access to resources, job-readiness preparation and practical work experience. If you are an Hostos student or alum, you can find them at the Savoy Building in Room 210.