Lizeth Parra Perez came to Colorado State University from Ciudad Obregón in Sonora, México to earn her Ph.D. in Education and Human Resource Studies in the School of Education. When applying to universities across the U.S., she felt that CSU stood out for both its top-of-the-line education and the safe, multicultural environment.
‘I belonged here’
“Although I considered other universities, only CSU made me feel like I belonged here,” said Parra Perez.
As an international student, Parra Perez had to overcome many challenges to earn her Ph.D. Leaving her job, her family, and her friends behind in Mexico were all tough, but even after arriving at CSU, Parra Perez had to learn all her course material in another language.
“When Lizeth came here from Mexico, she took a real risk entering our doctoral program. She was struggling with English while taking doctoral level classes, but she did very well,” said Gene Gloeckner, a professor and the chair of the Research Methods Committee in the School of Education.
Still, Parra Perez says neither of these were the greatest obstacles she faced. “Adjusting to the lifestyle of a graduate student meant changing my mindset and my priorities not only as a student, but as a human being,” she explained. “Struggles? There were thousands of them, but they were worth it!”
Parra Perez says that the faculty at CSU have made her journey a meaningful and worthwhile experience. Their encouragement, inspiration, and confidence gave Parra Perez the strength and support she needed to finish her doctoral journey.
Spirit of CSU
Parra Perez had been involved with many different campus communities, helping build a sense of connectedness through her involvement in the Latin American Students and Scholars Organization (LASSO) and working as a community coordinator in Apartment Life.
“I will definitely miss my friends and professors. They truly represent the spirit of CSU, and their warmth, sensibility, support, and commitment will always be with me. They’ve been an inspiration for me to grow as a professional and a person,” said Parra Perez.
For her dissertation, Parra Perez has collected information on student engagement and Critical Thinking scores using the Californian Critical Thinking Inventory. She also interviewed students on how they thought about student engagement and critical thinking.
Parra Perez is currently teaching at Instituto Tecnológico de Sonora while completing her Ph.D., and she will be applying for faculty positions in the coming months. She will also be collaborating on research projects both in the U.S. and in Mexico and anticipates being very busy.
“I am going to miss this beautiful and amazing campus because it is such a kind, friendly, and welcoming place. There are no folks like CSU Rams; there is no place like CSU!” said Parra Perez.