Rachel Lozada-Matillano (BA ’12 with Critical Psychology minor)
“Don’t let your education get in the way of your learning,” Rachel recalls a popular saying, reflecting back to 1980, her freshman year at the University of the Philippines. Back then the Philippines was under the Marcos dictatorship, and the anti-fascist and anti-imperialist movement was sweeping the country.
“Many students chose to go into full-time organizing, confronting the contradiction between being students and change agents. Attending classes got in the way of answering the call to be more active for social change.”
Rachel left school to pursue activist work, eventually participating in forming GABRIELA, a ground-breaking national network of women’s organizations. Plans to finish school were set-aside as she continued her work, got married, and became a mother. Since immigrating to the United States in 1993, Rachel has worked in the nonprofit sector providing social and behavioral health services to Asians, Pacific Islanders and other underserved populations. While Rachel acquired valuable hands-on training and lived experience in the field, she realized greater academic skills would enhance her contributions to and various roles in the community. Rachel returned to school, earning a certificate in Drug and Alcohol Studies at City College of San Francisco before completing her degree in the BAC Program, with a minor in Critical Psychology. In the BAC Program, she no longer found her education to be at odds with her learning:
“There was no conflict between the lived and academic experiences, they were synergistic and complementary to each other.”
Critical Psychology helped create a bridge between theory and praxis, between health and social justice, between human services and critical resistance:
“This is what I’ve been practicing in my work all along, but I had no words for it. Now I do!”Rachel now continues to serve the Asian and Pacific Islander communities as Program Director at APPEAL, and plans to pursue graduate studies in International Affairs.