As the first in her family to go on to higher education, community college was the initial step in a journey that led her to graduate school at UC Berkeley. Starting work in a factory right after high school, peer recruiters from MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán) outreached to her in the 1970's about the possibility of attending college. This peer to peer outreach changed the lives of many young Latinos at the time. She started at a Community College in Los Angeles County and went on to obtain a BA in Rhetoric at UC Berkeley and a JD degree from Berkeley Law. She started teaching Government and Policy classes in the Latina/o Studies Department in the College of Ethnic Studies in 1994.