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Noelia Barragan Torres

Alpha: Cindy Avitia High School, 2022
Success Story

Noelia Barragan Torres

I was born and raised in East San José, and I am the proud daughter of two immigrant parents. Currently, I attend Mission College in Santa Clara where I am on a path to receive my associates degree in human biology. My plan is to transfer to a four year university and receive a bachelor of science in nursing.

I used to believe that because my parents are immigrants, I did not have access to the same opportunities other students would have. I thought, because their parents had a good job and did not have to live a life where they had to make ends meet, they had better opportunities.  As I got older, I realized that there were many resources at my high school that I did not take advantage of, not just educationally but financially too. At that time, I never really looked into talking with an advisor. Thinking back on it, I really was not motivated. All I could think of at that time was that I could not wait to graduate high school. Then, the time came and I graduated high school. I remember I got home and I felt so lost. I did not really know what to do and where or what I wanted to study.

I clearly remember the time I was introduced to the Alpha: Alumni Success program. Before enrolling in Mission College, I attended, not one, but two other community colleges where I was not doing well academically, and I did not feel a sense of belonging on either of those campuses. One day, I received an email from the Alpha: Alumni Success team and at first I did not pay much attention to it. I am grateful for the persistence of the Alpha: Alumni Success team because I continued to receive these messages. One message came at a time when I was failing my classes, and I was realizing I did not know what I wanted to focus my studies in or what I wanted for my career. I was at a point where I was all like I do not know what to do so I decided to contact them for support.

I got in contact with Gabrielle from the Alpha: Alumni Success program, and looking back at it, I realize how much this one moment has supported my journey. The Alpha: Alumni Success team really helped me figure out what I wanted to do with my life. They gave me options, and even when I thought they were too outrageous, Gabrielle made me feel like it was not something crazy and if I wanted to go for it, I should go for it.

Gabrielle gave me a list of options based on my interest, which is to become a registered nurse. I learned about Mission College – where I am currently enrolled – thanks to the Alpha: Alumni Success team. I learned that Mission College offers a nursing program, and that I could start that summer, which I did. I am excited to share that I passed the nursing program and received my certificate the following February. I believe I was able to accomplish this because I had the additional support of the Alpha: Alumni Success Team.


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