Nicole Benquechea


Golden Women Book Scholarship Winner

Pursuing Master of Arts in Psychology

California State University

Los Angeles

Why continuing an education is so important to her:

“Continuing my education is essential because my intentions are to pursue a career in clinical psychology, as well as a professorial role devoted to providing guidance to underserved minority students, especially women. My plan is to combine academic advisement and assistance with research opportunities, such as constructing effective conference presentations, or providing workshops on scholarships, and how to join a research lab. My desire to provide these skills is based on personal experience as a first-generation student. Prior to my attendance at California State University, Los Angeles, I began my academic career at East Los Angeles Community College and was not introduced to scholarship and research opportunities. I have many mentors in my personal and academic life, and I would like to be a mentor to someone else who needs the help, especially first-generation students.”

Nicole proudly supports:

Culturally Adaptive Pathway to Success

California State University, Los Angeles

Ruben F. Salazar Park

Nicole, what does the term “Golden Women” mean to you?

“From my perspective, “Golden Women” are confident individuals who are of help to others in their personal and professional endeavors. My mother and grandmother were the ones who supported my educational goals, providing for me a strong sense of confidence. My mother and grandmother never had a higher education. My mother immigrated in the United States struggling to assimilate to a new language and the culture shock. I also experienced my own setbacks growing up. From a young age I suffered from anxiety attacks and low self-esteem, and the pressure in my academic and personal life exacerbated these issues until they began inhibiting my progress. Facing challenges when communicating with family and friends, I began regular visits with a speech therapist and a child psychologist. My parents and grandmother have been my emotional support, as they encouraged me to see a school psychologist for my low-self-esteem. Additionally, my mother, ignoring the expense, hired a private tutor to alleviate my struggles in English and math. From these experiences with my family, I learned first-hand how determination can make a small change. While reviewing the website, I learned from the members of the Golden Women Foundation and the importance of using one’s professional and personal experiences to uplift other women. These inspiring examples made me realize how I can facilitate positive change through my own professional career.”

Nicole, describe something that is plaguing young women today and explain what can be done to turn it around? What can you do to help?

“A concern that is plaguing young women today is that there is not enough research about coping mechanism for women’s mental health, and there is a lack of representation of minority women in psychological assessment. I took a multicultural and cross-cultural psychology course in the Spring 2019 semester and learned how assisting socioracial minority groups like Hispanic women is important to create cultural competence in the field of psychology. The insight I gained about culture on human psychological health and illness recognizes how stigma affects the coping mechanisms of Hispanic women. People across all cultures cope with their mental health differently, and this should be an opportunity for psychologists to facilitate culturally specific treatments that provide comfort for their clients. Cultural coping has been particularly useful for understanding cultural differences as to how people view themselves and their relationships with others. Therefore, I plan to discuss how women could benefit from guidance and assistance through joining a therapy group, attending school, becoming a member of any diversity or religion that can assist them with mental illness. My impact is to educate students the importance of recognizing women’s mental health in society.”