Carmen “Mela” Hernandez is a graduate of Barrio Logan College Institute (BLCI). She is The Upward Bound Coordinator at Upward Bound, which is housed in BLCI. As a former student of BLCI, she is a first-generation college student and child of immigrants from Michoacán. She talks about navigating challenges in her academic career, her time attending UCLA, and the beginnings of her professional life. The interview covers cultural differences surrounding college attendance in Mexico and the United States of America, as well as various college prep programs in San Diego. I met her while I was an Alumni Outreach intern at BLCI. I am a University of California San Diego undergrad student studying Ethnic Studies and Economics. I am interested in oral history as a research method that infuses knowledge gained from any research back into the community.