Although she’s only been at CSUDH a relatively short time, Lily Arana is already sure she’s at the right place. She serves as a bilingual counselor and advocate at the on-campus Center for Advocacy, Prevention & Empowerment (CAPE), a space that provides confidential assistance, support, and education for those affected by sexual abuse, assault, intimate relationship abuse, and stalking.
Arana says she wouldn’t trade jobs with anyone, and she “loves how intimate the CSUDH campus is, and how friendly everyone is.”
A South Bay native, Arana got her BS in psychology from CSU Los Angeles, then attained a master’s in social work at CSU Long Beach. While pursuing her graduate studies, she interned as a clinical social worker at a local domestic violence agency, and realized that advocating for and counseling survivors or trauma and assault was her calling.
She has been at CSUDH since September, 2022. “Growing up in an underserved community in the South Bay, I want to make a difference by being the support and advocate that I wish I had growing up and attending a CSU,” she says. “As a first-generation college graduate, I had to navigate higher ed on my own, and I want to be that guide for the first-gen students here.”
As a counselor and advocate, she says that every day is different and unique. “I can go from scheduling meetings with campus survivors to doing advocacy on- and off-campus to creating content for presentations. My favorite days are Tuesdays, when I host Social Hour with CAPE, where we have open conversations about relationships and other topics.”
Her favorite part of working at CSUDH is interacting with the students on a daily basis. “I love being around students!” she says. “Whether it’s during Social Hour on Zoom or when CAPE is out there tabling an event, I love meeting and working with Toros!”
When she’s not working, Arana spends most of her time “chasing after my 15-month old daughter.” In the rare moments she gets to herself, she enjoys cooking and baking, painting, and indoor gardening. Arana is also a nature lover who loves being outdoors every chance she gets.