Vernice Grajeda’s education has come full circle. She graduated from Mount Saint Mary’s in 2011 with bachelor’s degrees in political science and Spanish studies. Two years later, a former professor invited her to teach a summer class at the Mount, where she has been teaching Spanish and Latin American studies ever since.
In addition to teaching, Grajeda is president of the Alumnae Association and a six-year consecutive donor. She is actively involved in fundraising events and social media campaigns to garner support for the University.
“I started donating to the Mount early on because I want to help other young women have the opportunity to attend an institution that offered me so many opportunities and helped shape the woman I am today,” says Grajeda. “I also made sure to participate in different events and programs because those volunteer opportunities make a big impact.”
After graduating from high school, Grajeda had her heart set on being a doctor, but two years into her premed courses at the Mount she began to question her decision. “Although I was unhappy and stressed out, I had a hard time changing my major because I had wanted to be a doctor since I was five,” she recalls. “But everyone was very supportive of me changing my major. My second interest was political science, and talking to the department chair and teachers gave me the push I needed to make the change.”
Grajeda loved her political science classes and ended up adding a minor in international studies. After completing her degree in political science, she added a major in Spanish and stayed on at the Mount for another year.
After graduation, Grajeda pursued a master’s degree in Spanish studies from the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. In 2013, she returned to the Mount to teach and started donating soon thereafter.
"Upon graduation, I wasn’t at a place where I could give very much financially, but I gave what I could because I know every dollar counts,” she says.
In addition to teaching at the Mount, Grajeda is an elementary school principal for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and is pursuing her PhD in Hispanic studies from the University of Birmingham. She remains active in the Mount community, offering her time and financial support to the school that helped her define her career path.