I would not be where I am today without PCC.
Growing up on a small farm outside of Salem, I never planned on going to college. I thought you had to be rich or a genius--and I was neither. No one in my family had ever attended, and I knew nothing about student loans or even how to get started. Not wanting to be a burden on my single mother, I joined the Army. The Army gave me the opportunity to serve my country, and it taught me discipline, a trade, and it gave me a chance to earn money for college.
After eight years in the Army, I returned to home and enrolled at PCC in the fall of 2004. The next two years changed my life. I had been a mediocre high school student, but I thrived at PCC. I was inspired, motivated and intellectually challenged by the amazing and dedicated faculty. My time there paved the way for my later academic success and professional development. I transferred to Portland State University and graduated Magna Cum Laude in English, and then went on to earn a Masters in Health Care Administration and a Masters in Business Administration from Baylor University. I now work at a senior level in the Veterans Health Administration, serving my fellow veterans.
My involvement with PCC goes beyond my experiences as a student. I developed and taught a troubleshooting lab for PCC's Electronic Engineering Technical (EET) program, and created internship opportunities for PCC students. I also served on the EET Advisory Board, where I had the opportunity to advise on curricular needs to better prepare students for entering the workforce.
As a first-generation Latino college student, an Army veteran, a former PCC student, instructor and advisory board member, I bring a new and underrepresented perspective to the PCC Board of Directors. With 20+ years in the healthcare industry, I work at the strategic level to bring diverse stakeholders together to achieve common goals. I'm excited to use these skills in service of PCC and the wider community.
Quick facts about Valdez:
- Would be the first Latino to ever serve on the PCC Board
- Attended PCC as a student
- Former PCC adjunct instructor & advisory board member
- Would be the only veteran on the board
- First-generation college student
- Works as a Healthcare Administrator at the VA