Magazine article National Association of School Psychologists. Communique

An Undergraduate's View of the NASP Convention: An Interview with Vida Vazquez-Curtis

Magazine article National Association of School Psychologists. Communique

An Undergraduate's View of the NASP Convention: An Interview with Vida Vazquez-Curtis

Article excerpt

Communiqué: After working for a number of years, you are pursuing an undergraduate degree. Now you want to be a school psychologist and here you are at the NASP convention! How did that happen?

Vazquez-Curtis: I found out about NASP in 2012. At that time, one of my professors informed me that Arnold Schwarzenegger's budget cuts for California resulted in no new school counselors being hired. Since becoming a counselor was my original plan, as I wanted to work toward curbing inner-city school drop-out rates, I began researching similar professions. That is when I ran across a life changing article about school psychology in US News and World Report. I was very impressed by the fact that the position of NASP Director of Government Relations was held by a woman, Kelly Vaillancourt. I thought, "What an awesome position to be in; maybe one day I can work with her." With this new female muse, a new dream was born! I hope to meet Dr. Vaillancourt one day, but I know it will happen in due time.

Communiqué: Why would that be important to you?

Vazquez-Curtis: Being the youngest of nine children, I have over 30 young people (nieces and nephews) that I feel an obligation to model the best behavior possible for- in order to inspire them the same way Kelly inspired me. A mentor once told me, "Know what you know, know what you don't know, and know who knows what you don't know."

I'd like to hear her perspective on some of the issues facing education that I am still learning about.

Communiqué: It's unusual for someone not yet in graduate school or in the profession to attend a NASP convention. How did you decide to do that?

Vazquez-Curtis: As far as paying for my trip to NASP, I was on the fence about spending my savings to attend this event and being away from my 2-year-old son for 5 whole days! However, another trailblazing school psychologist by the name of Dr. Kristi Hagans granted me an opportunity to be her research assistant. That was all the "sign" I needed to invest in myself, hold those tears back, and make it to New Orleans. I stayed on my computer for 4 hours comparing flights, hotels, and corresponding on the NASP roommate-finder website. Although I did not find a roommate due to the short notice of things, I did find a good rate at a hotel two blocks from the Sheraton ... and voilà!

Communiqué: What surprised you most about the convention?

Vazquez-Curtis: I knew there was a need for more ethnic and gender diversity in the field but it felt interesting to actually see the need. Since returning home, it inspired me to be in constant recruiting mode. I also liked Dr. Todd Savage's diamond stud earrings. I not only admire his professional dedication to diversity and inclusion, but seeing it touched me at a personal level. I remembered a time in corporate America when my male friends were asked to remove their stud earrings and even cut their dreadlocks. But seeing him wearing them really speaks to his commitment to diversity-which was very refreshing.

Communiqué: What was the most important thing you learned here?

Vazquez-Curtis: There was a standing ovation at the end of the workshop, "Bracing for the Common Core Crash: Preventing More Children Left Behind," because everything talked about in that workshop was crucial. …

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