Fall 2020 grad is a teacher by nature


Kristen LaRue-Sandler

Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable fall 2020 graduates.

If there is a family trait that’s worth nurturing, one that produces a long line of educators might be it.

Graduating Arizona State University student Albert Molina describes himself as part of such a family, and he couldn’t be prouder to be continuing that legacy.

Molina is earning a BA in English via ASU Online this fall, and he plans to teach when he finishes his master’s degree. “Both my mother and father teach and have inspired me to share the knowledge and passion I have for English,” said Molina. With so many teachers leaving the profession in the U.S. for myriad reasons, stemming the tide with a new generation of committed educators like Molina is a must.

Another piece of good news: The apple doesn’t appear to fall far from the proverbial tree. Molina’s young son shares his creativity and motivation to mentor others. “My son, Alden, loves to read, write stories and make music,” he said. “I was incredibly proud when he told me he understood how much I loved English and that I wanted to share it with others. He then began writing stories and he told me to teach them to others.”

Molina’s accomplishment is one more success story for the Starbucks College Achievement Plan. Molina shared that he had been working at Starbucks and had almost given up on higher education when he learned about the tuition help. He decided to keep at it. Now, he has been accepted to a graduate program at National University in San Diego, California, near his home in Chula Vista, where he will earn his teaching credentials.

We sat down with Molina to find out a bit more about what he’s accomplished to get to graduation day.

Question: What was your “aha” moment, when you realized you wanted to study in your field?

Answer: I have always loved English and literature. Books and stories were as much a place to learn as they were to escape. The lessons I learned in the pages of the books that were read to me as a child, as well as the pages I discovered myself as I got older, inspired me to dive into the subject and share the lessons and love I have for English.

Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you, that changed your perspective?

A: Persistence. When I got to ASU, I had a 3-year-old son and two failed attempts at college success. The support and encouragement of the people I have a met on my journey with ASU inspired me to persist through my hardships and past failures to achieve a dream I once thought was out of reach. It is a lesson that I will never forget.

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: I believe ASU chose me! I am a product of the Starbucks College Achievement Plan, and just when I was going to leave Starbucks, ASU opened its doors to me and I never looked back!

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?

A: Allow yourself room to grow and don't be afraid of making mistakes.

Q: What was your favorite spot for power studying?

A: On the couch in my home with headphones on!

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: I will start my master’s/credential program to become a high school English teacher.

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: Climate change. I believe financial loss shouldn't be a deciding factor in making the right choice to save our planet.

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