link Veronica Mendoza Hand's Staff Success Story

Veronica Mendoza Hand's Story

Counselor Faculty (Puente)

See Veronica Mendoza Hand's Full Profile

"My advice to new students is to never be afraid to ask for help. It can feel intimidating to ask but had I not been brave enough to ask for help, I would not be where I am today. I love my career as a counselor and instructor, and I am more financially stable than I was before I received a college education. Now I get to thank my parents and pay them back for everything they have sacrificed for me."


Veronica Mendoza Hand poses with three graduates/students from the Puente program at Mission College.

Early Involvement in Puente Program

Growing up my father always told me that he wanted me to go to college so I could have more opportunities in life. He worked as a landscaper and told me many stories about how his employers treated him unfairly and how his landscaping work caused him lifelong injuries.

My mother also encouraged me to pursue a higher education. She had started college but due to a disability she was unable to finish pursuing her career goals. My family wanted something different for me and pursuing college was at first just a way for me to make them proud of me. 

Although I was the first in my family to go to college and there were some personal and financial challenges I had to face, I was also incredibly lucky to receive support from the Puente program in high school.

The Puente Project is a national award-winning program that for 40 years have helped thousands of underrepresented students pursue a higher education.


The Power of Mentorship

In the program I met my counselor who became a mentor for me. In addition, I was paired up with another mentor who I still keep in touch with. I have also stayed connected with many of the students I was in the program with. The program changed my life, which is why I am so proud to be the Co-Coordinator and counselor of the Puente program at Mission College.

The journey through college was not always easy. I had no health insurance, I was a caretaker to my mother from an early age, and I often helped my parents with business, medical and legal documents. However, what I found out is that there are many programs and resources that can make college a little easier. I joined programs such as Puente and TRIO and I am where I am today because of these programs.

My advice to new students is to never be afraid to ask for help. It can feel intimidating to ask but had I not been brave enough to ask for help, I would not be where I am today. I love my career as a counselor and instructor, and I am more financially stable than I was before I received a college education. Now I get to thank my parents and pay them back for everything they have sacrificed for me. 

Group of Puente students pose in front of a "step and repeat" backdrop wearing colorful woven Puente sashes.