Noelle Lopez ’16 took a road trip to Oregon and Washington with her brother her senior year at Acalanes HS in Lafayette, CA, that encompassed several campuses but what she found in Ashland with its small-town atmosphere and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, stayed in her heart. Initially, she decided to stay at home and attended Diablo Valley College (DVC), with 30,000 students, her first two years, earning her associate’s degree in psychology.
When it came time to decide on a four-year school after earning her associate’s, Noelle already knew that SOU was in her future. Starting fall of 2014, she was excited to attend a small school and knew she had made the right choice after attending the annual club fair during the first week of school. “The energy and diversity of clubs that I saw that first week impressed me and I loved how friendly and welcoming the club members were to everyone. I felt right at home,” she said. She immersed herself in her academic program courses and became President of the Psychology Club. She excelled at academic research, which would be a big boost for her future in graduate school. “Rachel Yocum was a fantastic psychology professor and really made us all feel welcome and at home in her courses. She was very approachable and I loved that we could connect during office hours to talk academic progress and graduate school,” she added. She also worked part time at the SOU Foundation, helping primarily with event planning.
After graduating June of 2016 with her bachelor’s in psychology and a minor in history, Noelle took just three weeks off before starting her graduate program at San Francisco State University, later earning her master of arts in psychology, August of 2018. After graduation, she took a much-needed break and travelled to Europe for a month, visiting eight countries.
Noelle was hired to teach part time at Diablo Valley College in Spring 2019. She continues teaching there and has added online teaching at San Francisco State, which gives her a full-time load of courses and students. She also advises the Psychology Club at DVC. “I love teaching and the interaction that comes with it. It’s very pleasing to meet with a student who doesn’t understand a concept, help them work through it to improve and then all of a sudden, the light comes on and they blossom. I enjoy seeing them succeed,” she said. “At SOU, I learned skills that helped me to get where I am now. I felt that I had a very well-rounded academic, club and social experience there that helped me improve as a person and those experiences continue to help me as a teacher at the collegiate level.”
Learn more: Diablo Valley College