Genesis Jara is a first-generation college student who was raised in Downey, California.

She attends California State University Long Beach where she fosters her passion for being a leader and serving others. As a freshman in college, she was the Community Relations Director of the Hispanic Students Business Association and eventually President of the organization as a sophomore. Her sophomore year she also got involved in her college’s student government. As a junior, she served as the ASI Chief Government Relations Officer where she advocated for students’ needs at a local and state government level. Now as a fourth year she serves as the ASI President & CEO. Her main goal is to advocate for students of historically marginalized communities.

In the midst of being involved on campus she has had the opportunity to work for companies like, Amazon, Honda and Coca Cola and has also interned for California State Assembly member Cristina Garcia. Her most current endeavor is starting her own organization with her mother. It is called Gown Me Up and the organization provides high school girls in need with gowns for their Prom.

After college Genesis aspires to work in the public service sector and eventually run to be an elected official.

Q: What is something you wish people knew about you?

Genesis: I wish people knew that although I have been able to accomplish a significant amount throughout my life thus far; there have been many obstacles I have had to overcome just to be where I’m at today. For example, serving as the ASI President has allowed me to accomplish a lot for students but I still face misogyny and invalidation from people who feel like I don’t belong in my position because I am a woman of color. This disrespect and invalidation usually comes from people who have never even taken the time to get to know me, I wish they would. Upon talking to me, it would be clear that I live my life to serve others and try to do so in a very authentic, genuine and transparent way because that’s the way I was raised.

Q: Who is a strong woman you look up to?

G: A strong woman I currently look up to is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Politics aside, it is extremely empowering to see a woman of color being so resilient and bold for her community in a way we have never seen politicians do it before. One of my favorite quotes by her when asked what she would tell young girls who want to pursue politics is, “Stop trying to navigate systems of power and start building your own systems of power.” Being a woman of color in a leadership position is difficult because we are expected to speak, act and behave in a certain way based off of systems of power that were not even created with us in mind. Since becoming ASI President I’ve made a pact with myself to always be authentic and unapologetically myself, regardless of unnecessary criticism.

Q: What are you passionate about?

G: I have always been passionate about serving others for as long as I can remember. My student government involvement started as soon as elementary school. I eventually served as my class president from my sophomore year of high school all the way up to my senior year then as I got to college my presidencies continued. The reason I ran for these positions throughout my entire life was because of my passion of serving my fellow students and overall making a difference in the lives of others.

Q: What do you think made you so passionate about those things?

G: I firmly believe the way I was raised is what made me passionate about public service. My dad immigrated to the United States at 16 and eventually met my mother a few years later. They had my older brother at the ages of 18 and 20 and had me just two short years later. Growing up with teenage parents and seeing how hard they worked and how many sacrifices they made for my brother and I is why I am the woman I am today. They both escaped poverty, my dad from Mexico and my mom from Compton, and raised us with a middle class income in Downey. That type of hard work and selflessness continues to fuel my passion to this day.

Q: How do you stay positive when you’re feeling down?

G: I try to remember that everything happens for a reason. I just lost my re-election for ASI President and I was feeling extremely disappointed, but I had to remind myself that everything happens for a reason and it just wasn’t meant to be. Whenever I am experiencing misogyny or disrespect although it’s unfortunate, I too believe it’s for a reason. I believe even those terrible experiences are teaching me something and preparing me for my future. Whenever I am undergoing stress or feelings of inadequacy, I remind myself that I am capable of succeeding. It’s easy for me to get the imposter syndrome at times but having an amazing support system amongst my friends and family is what gets me by.

Q: What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

G: The best piece of advice I have ever received is from my mom and it’s that God has never let me down. I get caught up in my emotions a lot of the times, but I find my faith in God to be reassuring, because even when I don’t know why something is happening God sure does and as my mom stated, God has not ever let me down. Even if you don’t believe in a higher being, I think just believing that everything happens for a reason is enough reassurance at times to know that everything will work out in the end.

Q: Why did you choose Cal State Long Beach?

G: I chose CSULB for affordability reasons as well as it being close to home. I have been able to save myself a lot of money by commuting from home and it has been great to be at home with my family in my times of need.

Q: What made you want to pursue leadership?

G: It was something I had always done since elementary school, so it just continued all the way until college. Getting involved has helped me grow as a person and as a professional and I am so glad that I chose to continue being involved with leadership even in college.

Q: What would you tell an incoming freshman interested in leadership?

G: Do it! You won’t regret it. There are only positive things that can come from you pursuing leadership and getting involved. It also helps you develop in so many ways that you would not be able to learn inside a classroom. It also helps sets you apart from other candidates when you start applying for internships and full-time job offers. My leadership experience throughout college has been nothing short of life changing.

Q: When do you graduate and what do you want to accomplish after graduation?

G: I graduate in May 2020 and I hope to begin working in the public service sector. My ultimate goal is to run for local city council and eventually for a state government position.

Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 years-career wise?

G: I see myself working in Sacramento or Washington D.C. and creating policy that would directly serve the most vulnerable communities throughout our state and nation.

Q: What other women in your field inspire you?

Leen Almahdi- ASI Vice President at Cal State Long Beach Savana Doudar – ASI President at Cal State San Marcos Alisha Sharma – ASI President at Chico State Mia Kagianas – Cal State Student Association President I am inspired by these women because they are strong and resilient in their roles and have done amazing things for the constituencies that they represent.

Genesis is truly inspiring. She has grown from her struggles and continues to on a daily basis. She is an awesome role model for women everywhere, including those of us not exactly in leadership or politics. She stands for those of us not so passionate about politics but passionate about our communities and ourselves.

For more about Genesis head to her social medias and personal website.

With Love/// Sam