First Gen Latine Alum Opens Doors and Supervises the Next Generation (News)
Maria Rosales, PhD, is a recent alum of Palo Alto University (PAU) and currently a Post Doctoral Associate Clinical Supervisor at the Gronowski Center. Getting a PhD was just one of many things she juggled in the past few years. “I am a Mexican American mother of identical twin 22-year-old young women and a 9-year-old baby girl - she is still my baby,” she said. “My educational journey has not been an easy one, but I have graduated with my Associates, Bachelors, Masters, and PhD degrees all while raising a family, working full time as the General Manager of a tech company, and helping manage my husband's business.” Dr. Rosales admits it was challenging, but now she looks forward to shaping future clinicians. She met her mentors at PAU, including Elisabet Revilla, PhD, and Alinne Barrera, PhD. It was Dr. Revilla who recommended Dr. Rosales apply to become a clinical supervisor at the Gronowski Center and Clinica Latina. While she had an idea she would enjoy supervising, she absolutely found her niche supervising at Gronowski. “I absolutely love it,” she said. “I know how important it is to have a supervisor who is understanding, who is caring, who actually takes the time to be the support they need, especially in this very vulnerable state because they're just starting out.” Dr. Rosales got her start, so to speak, when she was just 15 years old. Her father returned home from a garage sale with a psychology textbook. “I started reading it, and from there I was convinced,” she said. “It was something that I really, really enjoyed, found so much interest in, and knew that it would benefit the community and that I would be helping many people in need of mental health support.” From there, Dr. Rosales made her way to community college, San Jose State, and then PAU for both her Masters and PhD in Clinical Psychology.
It was her roots in the Latine community, as well as the support of her family, particularly her parents, husband, and daughters that kept her going. Dr. Rosales saw various mental health needs and diagnoses growing up, from autism to bipolar disorder. She also saw the stigma associated with mental health issues and mental health care in her community. She said, “The ability to help the Latine population is really what has driven me to continue this fight, and to even put my own needs aside for a little bit.” Her parents and siblings were incredibly supportive, even as she was the first in her family to attend college. Now she’s opening doors for her nieces and nephews who come to her for advice. And her husband has been a grounding force. “My husband has really been the voice of reason. He's been the one to come in, grab my shoulder, and be like, ‘What do you need me to do? Take the kids to the park for a couple hours?’ He's really been very supportive.” Now that Dr. Rosales has completed her PhD, she is working to obtain licensure and even enjoy Saturday afternoons with her family. Still, she works in the mornings and on Sundays doing all the paperwork for the week. She is currently supervising 10 students with about 35 clients, so there are a lot of progress notes to sign off on. But on Saturday evenings, it’s family time. On Monday, it’s back to work. “I find this work so rewarding because I get to support the new cohort of clinicians in a role that I was once in. Each week, I can’t wait to walk into the clinic with all this positivity to motivate my students so that we, as a team, can give our best to those in need.”