Blog post by Ana Valentin, Enterprise Service Program Manager, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
My name is Ana Valentín. I am a first-generation professional and I inspired 50% of my family’s next generation to complete a degree, and soon to be 90% by 2021.
I did not have an easy ride going to college and entering the professional workplace. Living in a rural area required me to take two public transportation buses for a three-hour round-trip ride every day. I used the commute time to read or complete assignments. Mobile technologies did not exist at that time. In public schools, I completed advanced placement courses which provided me the academic tools to complete a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Math Education and a Master’s degree in Public Health - Biostatistics.
Once I completed my college degrees, I worked six years as a clinical researcher and adjunct instructor at a school of medicine and as a part-time adjunct statistics professor at various universities. As an adjunct professor, I inspired young working professionals--who worked full-time while attending evening classes--to complete their college degrees and look past their adversities.
After six years in academia, inspired by my parents who retired from the Puerto Rico Health Public Government, I joined the Federal government to become a civil servant. I currently serve as an Enterprise Service Program Manager, leading various technology projects for the Department of Commerce. My new role motivated me to pursue a Doctorate in Science degree in Cybersecurity. As a full-time doctorate student, and soon to be an adjunct professor in the Fall semester, I will continue to inspire, mentor, and coach young women and minority students to pursue STEM careers and Federal government professional careers.
In summary, I never will give up in inspiring others. I will continue to demonstrate the resilience needed to complete my professional, academic, and personal goals. And, I will continue to learn from everyone who has invested in my personal and professional growth and live by my motivator slogan which is from the Marine Corps--"Earned. Never Given."
Ed. note: This post is part of the very first Spotlight on Commerce series highlighting the contributions of the Department of Commerce employees who are First Generation Professionals. First Generation Professionals are one of the first in their immediate families to enter the professional work environment. They are professionals with varying socio-economic backgrounds, life experiences, skills and talents that diversify our workforce.