Upon taking her first anthropology class and museum studies course at her local community college, Connie Morales Gutierrez knew she had found her major. “It aligned with my loves for learning about different cultures and museums, which are my happy places.” Gutierrez worked with Dr. Carl Wendt on his archaeological project in Veracruz as an undergraduate and grad student. The culmination of which was a graduate thesis and museum exhibition at the Museum of Anthropology in Xalapa, Veracruz.
Gutierrez leads a team of faculty, classified staff, and student workers who support students living with a disability access higher education. Her department provides academic counseling and accommodations that support individual learning needs and goals. “My passion for service, navigating cultures, and interacting with students to meet their needs is something I can do confidently coming from a background in Anthropology.” Community college leadership keeps her connected to students and provides her the ability to serve first-generation college students like herself and help them navigate the world of higher ed.”
After spending some time at local community college, training as a professional sign language interpreter, and finding her passion for Anthropology, Gutierrez transferred to CSUF to major in Anthropology with a focus on archaeology and museum studies. Gutierrez is a first-generation college student and a proud third-generation Mexican American. She has also worked as a professional sign language interpreter for over 15 years and worked as an interpreter on campus while pursuing her undergraduate and graduate degrees.
Asking for help is the hardest thing for me to do, but doing so has allowed me to get to where I am.”
“Life is always going to present challenges, and throw curve balls your way. Your major might change, and sometimes you find yourself in a career not even related to your major; however, you will acquire skills and education at CSUF that will prepare you for a rich future. It will also be a pleasant surprise when you realize that you are using the skills learned in your major, even when not employed in that field. Though I majored in Anthropology both for my B.A. and M.A., my current job is not directly related to the field, however learning how to navigate cultures, respect the different perspectives we all have, and appreciate the various backgrounds and norms that we bring to our workplaces, has helped become a successful leader, student advocate, and colleague.”