Munevar struggled at Carlmont High but blossomed at Cañada
Sometimes, an average student can find success with a little support. That was certainly the case for Lexie Munevar, who did just enough to graduate from Carlmont High School in 2009, but found her academic footing at Cañada College thanks to Frank Austin.
“He was the first professor I connected with in my first semester at Cañada in the fall of 2010,” Munevar said. “I was a full time student, babysitting every day and enrolled in Math 200 – Elementary Statistics & Probability. My initial goal was to merely pass the class because I had heard how difficult it was and I didn’t have much time to dedicate to the course.”
Austin, who was working as a tutor in the Cañada College Learning Center, held a math workshop twice a week and Munevar began attending on Friday mornings. “It was the first time I had academic support outside the classroom,” she said. “He was the first person I felt I could go to for help.”
Working with Austin, Munevar began to understand statistics. “Frank was an amazing resource,” she said. “I not only passed the class but I received an ‘A’. at that point, I became optimistic about my studies.”
Austin remembers Munevar as a shy student who didn’t say much in the workshops but was always alert and had a ready smile. “I was very pleasantly surprised in later years as I watched her grow out of her shyness and become a student leader. I am very, very happy for her success and I’m sure that more successes await her.”
While her academics improved, Munevar was still missing the college experience. “My first two years at Cañada, I strictly attended class. I was not part of any groups, clubs, or organizations on campus. In the fall of 2012, I joined student government and was elected Commissioner of Publicity. I had no experience whatsoever in extracurricular activities but I was ready to experience it all and I got hooked!”
Munevar loved interacting and collaborating with her peers and the satisfaction she received organizing events for campus. This created a domino effect and she soon joined a number of groups, including the honor society. She was eventually hired as a mentor for Cañada’s Beating the Odds program, which pairs a current student with a new, first-generation, student to help boost the new student’s odds of success.
“These organizations gave me an opportunity to meet and work with my peers, staff, and faculty from the college,” she said. “It made me feel like a professional, productive and influential person – I was now beyond just being a student.”
She carried that confidence to UC Davis, where she is currently studying psychology. “At Cañada, I did a six month volunteer internship at Stanford Medicine Outpatient Center where I confirmed my interest in pursuing graduate school. I want to become an occupational therapist.”
Munevar said it doesn’t matter if you performed poorly in high school or if you don’t have support at home, you can succeed at Cañada. “Cañada is a community of people that genuinely care about you and your success. The campus is small enough that teachers, staff, and peers will recognize you. Once you become involved at Cañada, you will find people who will become your family. Once I got involved, I realized how crucial it is to have people that check-in to support you. It’s such an easy thing to do but it’s precisely what many of us need to keep moving forward and help us achieve our goals.”