Alumni

Making a difference thanks to her Brandman education

September 06, 2016 by Cindy O'Dell
Domenica Escatel

Domenica Escatel is a “20 Under 40” recipient in Modesto. She earned a master’s degree at Brandman’s Modesto campus.

Domenica Escatel knows how to take advice.

It was advice from co-workers and mentors at the Stanislaus County Office of Education that led her to Brandman University.

It was information, a tour and advice from the Modesto campus that convinced her she could manage working full time and going back to school.

It was advice from her academic advisor Caroline Dias as she was about to graduate with her Master of Arts in education with a leadership in early childhood education emphasis that inspired her to use her story to inspire others.

All of those added up to a recent “20 under 40” award and profile in the Modesto Bee.

Although profiled for her entrepreneurial efforts creating LifeBoss and her community efforts on behalf of women and children, Escatel also recently received a promotion in her full-time job thanks, at least in part, to advancing her education at Brandman.

Escatel has gone from being a Head Start site supervisor to a child development specialist, working with teachers to provide a quality environment and program for infants and toddlers.

“I get to coach and mentor teachers in the different programs we’re involved with,” said Escatel.

A culture of support

Without Brandman’s student-support programs, Escatel doubts that she would have found a way to balance a demanding job with going to school.

“The support system made it easier than I thought it would be. So I’m a big advocate for Brandman, especially for people who don’t know where to start,” she said.

What really set Brandman apart for Escatel was the advice she got as she was about to graduate.

Diaz’s advice to Escatel was to not just focus on the victory of graduating but to think about how to put her education to work. “She told me, ‘Go, get involved,’” said Escatel. More than telling, however, Dias introduced her to a network of people whose interests meshed with Escatel’s.

“She really opened my eyes to getting involved in the community, to networking with professionals who have similar degrees and can show me where I can go. That’s the help I didn’t get when I got my B.A.,” said Escatel, whose undergraduate degree from San Jose State was in photography and art education.

Building her network

Now Escatel is using that community network to build support for the causes nearest to her heart.

“I have a huge passion for working with women, children and the community,” she said. She’s developing a series of workshops focused on women, many of whom are struggling to find the confidence to change their lives for the better.

“I want people to know you don’t have to be a victim of your circumstances, that any day of the week you can choose to have a better life. You just have to get connected with the right people. I was fortunate and made that connection. I really saw that I can live a better version of myself and play a role because of that,” she said.

Getting more education really was a game-changer for Escatel and she hopes that she can inspire others, including family members such as her niece and nephew.

“There’s always an opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life.”

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