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Joshua Vega (Pace University, Class of 2018) entered Breakthrough New York as a shy 7th grader who enjoyed school. He appreciated that Breakthrough kept him engaged by making learning fun. Through different games and activities, he slowly built confidence in himself and his abilities – so much so that in college, he became a Teaching Fellow. Joshua taught physics for two summers, and was even placed at the same Manhattan site he had attended years ago.
“Looking at those students reminded me of me when I was there,” he remembers. “The ones that struggled a little bit, the shy ones – I pictured myself. I’m like, ‘Okay, I want to reach out to that kid.’ Hopefully, I did make some impact on some of them.”
A Mental Health Counselor
Joshua’s Breakthrough teaching experience strongly influenced his decision to work with young people as a mental health counselor. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Pace University and currently works for Interborough Development Consultation Center. Joshua is placed at Grover Cleveland High School where he counsels up to 25 students.
“It’s an amazing feeling to work at a school,” he says. “I always wanted to make an impact on students. Mental health counseling was the right fit.”
Words of Advice
As a first generation college graduate, Joshua feels extremely proud to not only have earned his bachelor’s, but his master’s degree. He offers this advice for Breakthrough students who may be in a similar situation: “Be open-minded, because you never know what opportunities may fall at your feet, [or] what doors may open. Even if that one opportunity may not seem like that’s the fit for your career, that can lead you [to] the dreams that you want.”
Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.