Rosa Hernández epitomizes the strength and determination of the Bronx, the borough she calls home.


Hernández' parents were Honduran immigrants; she was born and raised in the Bronx, not far from Yankee Stadium. After high school she attended another college but grew dissatisfied and transferred to Hostos, where she is majored in Early Childhood Education. “I was looking for a fresh start,” she said, “A new opportunity, and I was definitely glad I transferred. I felt if I needed some guidance. It was more available to me than at my previous college, and just little things like that make a huge difference when you're trying to decide what career path you want to choose.”


Hernández’s passionate about becoming a teacher. She’s always deeply involved in the community. For almost a decade now, she’s worked as a legislative aide in the office of New York State Assemblyman Jose Rivera, who represents the 78th District, which includes a good portion of the Bronx. A 2010 summer internship led to a full-time job in Rivera’s office. 


When asked to describe how the job has affected her, Hernández was emphatic: the job has been life-changing. “I couldn't have asked to work for a better assemblyperson,” she said of Rivera. “He's always been encouraging, always made it a topic telling me that I should further my education, that I need to take advantage. I'm young. I have to do this now, to not wait it out. It's been nothing but great to be under his mentorship. He's really phenomenal.”


Her job entails a wide variety of duties. “Whatever comes up that day, whatever is needed, I have to be there… In the office, we deal with a lot of constituent work. And that’s why I say life changing, because you really get a different perspective when you are dealing with all these different scenarios and helping all these people. For me personally, every person that walks in there, I want to be able to help them. I want to just to be able to make a difference.”


Hernández draws upon her training in Early Childhood Education when she’s at work. “We deal with parents and with the different situations that they may be having with their children and with the school district.”

Her educational journey, delayed by illness in the family and other circumstances, has taken longer than she expected, and Hernández had her doubts on occasion. But a Hostos counselor once provided her with some very helpful advice: “This is what you need to finish. It's never too late. Start with these first two classes. Just get your feet wet again, see how it feels, don't overwhelm yourself trying to do a full schedule.” 


It was just what Hernández needed to hear. “I remember leaving her office, and saying to myself,  I can do this. I can really, really work hard and I can accomplish this.”


Hernández also credits her success to her sister’s unconditional support, without her she wouldn’t have made it.


She intends to keep on accomplishing. Hernández plans to continue her studies at Lehman College and obtain her bachelor’s degree. She’s determined to be a teacher. “That’s my goal,” she says, “and I’m not going to stop until I’m in that classroom.”