Student Employee Achieves Dreams, Helps Other Students Achieve Theirs
Between working two jobs and earning a bachelor’s degree with a double major, Jesse Ceballos doesn’t have a lot of spare time. However, he commits fully to everything he does, which recently earned him the honor of Bellevue University Student Employee of the Year.
“Juggling two jobs, being a full-time student and tending to all other family and personal obligations has been an extremely challenging task,” he said. “I like to think that I am a person who fully commits to everything I do, so I had to learn how to manage my time and prioritize tasks even when everything was important to me.”
Ceballos, a first-generation college student who works in the University’s Scholarships & Grants Department, graduates this June with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Communication Studies with an emphasis in Mass Media.
“Luckily, I also had a great support system that helped me get through some hardships, encouraged me to keep going, and believed in me even when I didn't believe in myself.”
A Journey Full of Challenges, Rewards
Ceballos’s parents are originally from Mexico and moved to the United States seeking a better life. They were only able to complete the equivalent of an elementary-level education.
“They really stressed the importance of education as I grew up; however, It was not until now that I learned to value education, which makes this degree very important and special to me,” said Ceballos.
Being a first-generation college student was hard at first. “I was excited but scared to go to college. I had to learn the ropes by myself and did not have anyone in my family to turn to for help as I navigated the confusing roads of college admissions,” he said. “Although it was no easy task, I am proud of the experiences I have gone through and am pleased to break the cycle by being the first in my family to graduate with a bachelor's degree.”
Ceballos said the faculty and staff at Bellevue University played a large part in helping him face the challenges of earning a degree. ”Everyone I worked with and encountered was very supportive and was always willing to lend a hand. I can honestly say that I would not be who I am today without all the knowledge and wisdom I have taken from everyone I met during my time at Bellevue University.”
With two quite different majors, Ceballos took a combination of online and in-person courses. “This whole college experience has been great and rewarding,” he said. “It is difficult to pinpoint my favorite experience; however, I have very much enjoyed getting to work with many instructors and staff members that helped me grow academically and professionally, and have become mentor figures in my life.”
The Scholarship Experience Comes Full Circle
Ceballos chose Bellevue University because it was a smaller school that was close to home. That wasn’t the only factor, however. “Most importantly, I was offered multiple scholarships that would completely cover the cost of my degree,” he said.
Little did he know that by the time he graduated, he’d be helping students like himself who needed help covering the cost of a college degree. In his student employee role, he worked on a variety of tasks related to scholarships and grants, including handling all communications with external scholarship providers, researching opportunities and listing them online. He also helped match students with the right scholarships.
“One of my favorite tasks was executing multiple thank-you campaigns for the scholarship reviewers,” he said. “I very much enjoyed being part of a wonderful, supportive team, and as a scholarship student myself, I enjoyed learning about the work that goes on behind-the-scenes.”
Looking Toward the Future
Ceballos hasn’t decided exactly what his career path will look like, but with a broad education base, he will have many options.
“There are so many things I am interested in and would like to do that it is impossible for me just to pick one,” he said.
He’s interested in helping younger students reach their potential or working at a non-profit, as well as exploring public relations and social media marketing.
“I have also set a goal for myself to pursue a graduate degree, so that will also be in the works. No matter what path I take, I know I want to help others and strengthen my community.”