“I’ve always wanted to help people from underserved communities,” says Ludivina Snow, Director of the Toro Guardian Scholars (TGS) program at CSUDH. “While I was in grad school, I had the privilege of working at an alternative school for current and former foster youth, and young people involved in the youth and adult carceral systems. I knew then that I would always want to work serving these populations.”
In her role leading TGS, Snow is doing exactly that. The TGS program is designed to help support college students that have transitioned from the foster care system, providing a wide range of services and resources that assist them throughout their educational journey.
Working at CSUDH is a dream come true for Snow, who earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology in 2012 from the university. While she was a Toro student, the mentoring she received from her professors was an invaluable inspiration.
“They saw the potential in me and knew I would be able to achieve my dreams,” says Snow. “Since then, I knew I wanted to work at CSUDH if the opportunity allowed. I want to provide other students with the same supportive experience I had.”
After graduating from CSUDH, Snow went on to attain a master’s degree in clinical psychology from the University of Tulsa, and a master of public administration degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Prior to joining TGS, she served as Youth Justice Program Manager at CASA of Los Angeles, an organization that mobilizes community volunteers to advocate for youth in the foster care system.
As Director of TGS, Snow says, “Every day is so different! That’s one of the things I enjoy most about my role. I do everything from writing reports and updating procedures to collaborating with other departments. And I have lots of meetings!”
Over the past few months, Snow and her team have restructured TGS to ensure that each member has responsibilities that align with programmatic and personal goals. It’s an effort she’s especially proud of, as it will allow TGS to help students even more effectively and efficiently.
Snow is also enthusiastic about the newly remodeled TGS office, located on the third floor of Welch Hall. The comfy space now includes a bank of computers for students to use, a food pantry, health and hygiene supplies, television, and spaces where students can just kick back and relax between classes. “I am so proud that we’ve been able to make our office space more welcoming and student-centered,” says Snow.
As far as she’s concerned, Snow has the best job at CSUDH. “I really love my work,” she says. “I love coming in every day, working with my team, and helping our students. I enjoy thinking creatively to develop workshops and opportunities for students, and love working with my colleagues here–they’re all so dedicated!”
Snow credits much of her work ethic to her family and upbringing. As a teenager, she used to spend weekend nights helping her parents clean upscale restaurants. “It taught me a lot about what it means to work hard, and it gave me something to aim for,” remembers Snow. “I always thought that maybe one day I would be able to eat in those restaurants, too.”
In fact, she says that exploring new restaurants is one of her favorite ways to spend her time these days. She’s also a big fan of plant shops, and enjoys baking, traveling, watching scary movies, and visiting family and friends when she’s not busy helping Toro students. Her “dream space” to spend time is at home with her husband and two dogs–a black Maltese and a beige Havanese Poodle mix.
Ultimately, it’s her connection with CSUDH’s mission that keeps Snow excited about her job at TGS. “I really want to help bring educational opportunities to underserved communities,” she says. “I want to help create a culture of care and increase access for students, especially current and former foster youth. As administrators, we all have a duty to provide a buffer against oppressive systems and create more equitable and trauma-informed systems.”