Mother earns degree at CSUSB Palm Desert while putting 3 kids through college

PALM DESERT, Calif.- - Thursday night, Concepcion Barajas will join a record number of soon-to-be CSUSB Palm Desert graduates at "The Show" at the Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa in Rancho Mirage for commencement.

But her story is particularly unique; she managed to earn her degree over the past few years while simultaneously helping three of her four children through schooling at other Cal State colleges.

Barajas is earning her bachelor's degree in psychology and said that she decided to head to school with the encouragement of her four children.

Her daughter Amanda earned her bachelor's degree in American studies and criminal justice from Cal State Fullerton in 2018, her daughter Alicia currently attends Cal State Fullerton, working towards a bachelor's degree in human services and American studies, and her son is working towards a bachelor's degree at Sonoma State University, according to a CSUSB Palm Desert news released. Her oldest daughter, Daniella, earned a master's degree from the University of Spain in 2014. 

Barajas grew up in a small town in Mexico with four brothers and four sisters, and came to the U.S. at . the age of 12. Despite limited schooling in her home country, she learned how to read and write in Spanish and English.

Although it wasn't always easy, she continued to strive towards her degree because it would open the door to a "better future", Barajas said. 

"[My mentors at CSUSB Palm Desert] gave me the tools to learn new concepts and the motivation to do better in school and in life," Barajas said in an interview on the CSUSB's website. 

After graduation, she hopes to find work in a counseling setting or with a hospital, while also applying for master's programs. 

She is also a grandmother. 


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