‘When life brings challenges your way, embrace them because they bring with them an opportunity to grow and learn valuable lessons about who you are and where you want to go from here’. Avina is a college counselor and educator, but it didn’t start out that way. She has always loved learning, but it took many significant experiences to finally realize where her passion laid. Originally from India, Avina has lived in California since 2007. She completed my undergraduate degree in Engineering in India. Upon moving to the United States, she explored many interests, and renewed my passion for the field of education as well as holistic living. I received my Master’s degrees in Recreation & Tourism Management (2012) and French Literature and Language (2015). While in school, Avina taught a course in elementary French, worked for a non-profit organization as a community event organizer and mentored SJSU students. Her interests span across a wide range of fields; at the same time, education and counseling are consistently the fields that she finds herself gravitating toward professionally. She am passionate about adopting a holistic, student-centered approach to education and counseling. On a personal level, her quest is to find a balance between her cultural background and western ideals surrounding the question of identity. My personal goal is to empower myself to fulfill my goals; at the same time, I am also constantly working on empowerment of underserved communities and women. Avina facilitated a Lean In group at San Jose State University, assisting two of the most wonderful professors on campus, where she worked with female students in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) and the Social Sciences in order to build skills and use tools to navigate challenges that women face in the work industry.