Finding place

Sonia Paredes, ’16, wants to bridge the gap for others

“I’ve always been a people person,” says Sonia Paredes, BS ’16. When she arrived at the U, Paredes hoped to find the right college community, but it wasn’t easy. “I definitely felt kind of isolated at the beginning until I found my space.”

Groups like the University YMCA and her fellow first-generation classmates helped bridge some of those gaps.

“I surrounded myself with people I could identify with,” says Paredes. “I learned that it was healthy for me to connect with people who went through the same challenges.”

She chose family social science for her major because the program was in-depth but broad enough to give her a wide field of job opportunities. Paredes spent a year after graduation as youth development coordinator for the U YMCA. Now she works as an employment specialist for East Side Neighborhood Services in Minneapolis. She says her own journey definitely influenced the career path she chose.

“I enjoy helping people find resources and things that work best for them and help them in their development,” she says. “I want to continue to provide one-on-one services to families and individuals in the community.”

Learn more about the Department of Family Social Science.

Return to “The first-generation force.”

Story by Ellen Fee | Photo by Erica Loeks | Winter 2018