CONNECTS Fellow: Samantha Espinoza

“I just love working here. I love working with students. Each year I reapply for CCA CONNECTS. I have friends asking ‘Why do you keep applying? Why do you like working with high school students?’ I think it’s the funnest thing. It’s something I definitely aspire to do with the rest of my life.”

– Samantha Espinoza, CCA CONNECTS Fellow

Samantha Espinoza (left), Alicia Arnold (right)


Fellowship Description

Samantha Espinoza started in the Connects Fellowship Program as a Freshman and has been a teaching assistant at Oakland Technical High School in the Fashion Arts and Design Academy (FADA) ever since. She’s worked with two different teachers in the visual design class learning how to run a high school classroom and support students. Over the years, she’s gained confidence in how to explain art processes, create safe spaces for students, and working with a wide range of students.

Samantha explains how her Connects experience led her to become a Community Arts major:

“The reason that I went into Community Arts is because I worked here. I was initially just planning on doing craft. I came in as a painting major, and then I started working here….I didn’t have the language as to what community art was and then I came here and I started to understand this is what I want to do.”


This Connects Fellowship is an example of:

  • Exploring career possibilities
  • Connection between studies and career
  • CCA student as role model
  • CCA connection to local community

Site Mentor, Alicia Arnold, described the impact of having CCA students mentor high school students:

“It was very powerful for my students that they were being taken seriously by the coolest people in the world, which are college students. They were really focused and very engaged….That made a huge difference for so many kids.”

Impact Statement

CAPL asked Site Mentors and Fellows how CCA CONNECTS impacts them and their community:

Site Mentor, Alicia Arnold – “Samantha has been a bridge between CCA and FADA. As a college student, she has been an influential role model to the high school students.”

CCA Fellow, Samantha Espinoza – “My Connects experience has directly impacted my choice of career path. It also has show me the professional and administrative side of education.”