New College and Career Center tech has multifaceted, educational background

Newly+hired+College+and+Career+guidance+technician+Genesis+Perez+organizes+paperwork+containing+information+about+the+PSAT+on+her+rotating+display+in+Room+2.+Perez+welcomes+all+students+to+visit+her+office+anytime+to+look+for+information+about+post-high+school+and+college+opportunities.

Rebekah Kim

Newly hired College and Career guidance technician Genesis Perez organizes paperwork containing information about the PSAT on her rotating display in Room 2. Perez welcomes all students to visit her office anytime to look for information about post-high school and college opportunities.

Susie Kim

Genesis Perez recalled the importance of joining her campus’s band at Anaheim High School, where she graduated in 2007.

“The teamwork and collaboration I learned from band is important not only as a guidance technician, but also in any position because you’re working as a team to achieve,” said Perez, who was hired last December as the new College and Career Center guidance technician. “When you are working in education, it might sound cliché, but it takes a village to support students.”

“It involves everyone — your parents, you as the student, teachers, admin, anyone — so that’s why it truly takes a village.”

It involves everyone — your parents, you as the student, teachers, admin, anyone — so that’s why it truly takes a village.”

— Genesis Perez

Perez took over the position left vacant last semester by former guidance technician Evelyn Casillas, whose last day here was on Nov. 19. Casillas has since moved on to the Fullerton Joint Union High School District [FJUHSD] office as a data systems technician.

Like Casillas, Perez said she will provide college and career exploration workshops for students to be informed about careers and post-secondary options. 

She will also coordinate and support college and financial application sessions, manage testing and speaker visitors on campus and maintain the College and Career Center tab on the school’s online website, she said. 

Before focusing on education as a career path, Perez said she pursued a nursing major at California State University, Fullerton [CSUF], receiving a bachelor’s degree in sociology and health science.

During her freshman year of college, she said she conducted various experiments relating to the human body and medicine, drawing her into the field of epidemiology. However, she started questioning her studies as a health science major after experiencing burnout.

“I think what drove me in high school to pursue the medical field was my health science teacher and the classes itself, like biology and chemistry,” Perez said. “But I wanted to do something that I knew I would eventually be more passionate about.”

She then changed course to pursue a master’s degree in educational counseling. 

Perez first involved herself in a college access program at CSUF in her first year of college and was able to shadow other experienced mentors.

“I thought that I could see myself doing this with students,” she said. “But the program was more of attending conferences, building knowledge and seeing how counselors interact with students, so that experience prepared me for my position now.”

After graduating from CSUF in 2014, she was hired to work for various college access programs at schools in the Anaheim Union High School District, such as Western and Savanna high schools, by traveling to the campus and helping students fill out college applications, managing financial aid and assisting those who need to make up courses.

Additionally, Perez said she helped introduce local sixth-graders to the CSUF school campus through the Kids to College program in 2015. 

She said she proposed post-secondary education opportunities and prepared them for the college lifestyle by providing science, technology, engineering, art and math-based workshops.

“It was a good balance and a change of scenery for a day from my usual day at one of the high schools I was working at,” Perez said. “Sixth-graders are full of energy, which is contagious, and I enjoyed having them on campus.”

After working at CSUF for six years, Perez said she looked for a new job through EdJoin, an online search portal that posts education-related positions. She wanted to gain more experience at one school.

She initially anticipated offers from Sunny Hills, Buena Park and La Habra high schools before being interviewed on the SH campus and accepting her position here, beginning on Dec. 13 during final exam week last semester.

“My first week was more of getting acclimated to the campus vibes, campus resources, students, staff and the position,” Perez said. “As the day went by, I was able to meet admin, counselors, staff and get a tour of the campus.”

When assistant principal Sarah Murrietta was looking for someone to fill the guidance technician position, she said she sought out someone knowledgeable about various college entrance processes and someone who was passionate about serving students.

“[Perez’s] past experience working at CSUF is a great asset to have at Sunny Hills,” said Murrietta, who interviewed Perez on Nov. 17. “She is also kind, caring and approachable… qualities I always look for when looking for staff who are going to support our students.”

She is also kind, caring and approachable… qualities I always look for when looking for staff who are going to support our students.”

— assistant principal Sarah Murrietta

Perez’s interview consisted of one assistant principal each from Sunny Hills, Buena Park and La Habra high schools, including her direct supervisor Ms. Murrietta who oversees the position.

Off campus, Perez said she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, traveling nationally and internationally, though the COVID-19 pandemic has forced her to stay home these past few years.

“My ultimate goal within the United States is to visit all 50 states,” she said. “I like going to the state’s baseball team game and collecting or buying hats and shirts.”

This year, Perez hopes to get to know students, build connections to better support students’ needs and take advantage of opportunities that may come her way by attending conferences, retreats and professional development programs..

“Being able to support and interact with students is what I like the most about my job,” she said. “It takes a village to be able to support students in different capacities and working collaboratively to see students succeed is the best part of my job.”

The College and Career center in Room 2 is open each school day from 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Students can also contact her via email: [email protected]