Barbosa shows seeds to a visitor during a fair

Victoria Barbosa turns first generation experience into success for others

For Victoria Barbosa, navigating college as a first-generation student was daunting. 

“I had to navigate the whole process of applying for college on my own,” Barbosa said. “It was nerve-wracking since I wasn’t sure if I was doing it right or not.” 

Through her involvement with the CAMP scholars program, continued support from faculty and staff and sheer determination, Barbosa earned two bachelor’s degrees and a master’s degree from Arizona State University and now works to help undergraduate students adjust to college and succeed. 

Career pivot

When Barbosa started at ASU as a freshman, she had a plan—to be a child psychologist. She was passionate about psychology and working with children, so she pursued degrees in psychology and family and human development. It wasn’t until working an internship during her junior year of college that she realized it might not be the best fit for her.

“I think of it as a mini crisis because I did not know what to do,” Barbosa said. “It was too late to change my major or become involved in other things for another area of psychology.”

She turned to one of her professors, Dr. Casey Sechler, for guidance. Sechler told her to think about what she would enjoy doing in the future.

“The first thing that came to mind was how much I liked working with students in higher education,” Barbosa said. 

She had worked as a peer mentor, academic tutor and teaching assistant as an undergrad, allowing her to help other undergraduate students and provide them with resources for success. 

Barbosa graduated from ASU’s The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in spring 2020 and then went on to graduate school at ASU to pursue a master’s degree in education. 

ASU’s CAMP Scholars Project

Barbosa was a scholar in the College Assistance Migrant Program’s (CAMP) first cohort during her first year at ASU and went on to work as a peer mentor for the program for two more years.

CAMP at ASU is federally funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Migrant Education. The program provides academic support to students from migrant and seasonal farmworker backgrounds during their first year in college.

Barbosa is the first CAMP student to go on to earn a graduate degree and the only person in her family to have attended graduate school.

The CAMP staff helped Barbosa navigate both the graduate school application process and graduate school itself.

“If it weren't for them and all of the other people who supported me during my transition into graduate school, I would not have been able to complete my master’s degree,” Barbosa said.

In December 2021, Barbosa earned a Master of Education in Higher and Postsecondary Education from ASU’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College.

Using her experience to increase student success

Since graduating, Barbosa has been working with online students as a success coach at EdPlus at ASU.

EdPlus aims to increase student success and reduce barriers to achievement in higher education. In this role, Barbosa discusses strategies for balancing life, work and school with students. 

“Whether it was as a peer mentor during my undergrad, or as an online success coach right now, it is gratifying seeing how one conversation with a student can contribute to their success moving forward,” Barbosa said.

In the future, Barbosa plans to apply for doctorate programs. For now, though, she hopes to gain more experience working in higher education and continue providing students with the resources needed to succeed, just as ASU did for her.


Jenna Nabors