Sequoia Thompson, who graduated from PCC with honors in 2016, has had her story told by UCLA's press office in advance of the university's commencement ceremony this Friday.

Thompson, who will earn a degree in psychology with a minor in LGBTQ studies, hopes that she can help other queer youth of color understand their place in a complicated landscape of identities. At UCLA she has spoken openly about her background – both as an older student and as an androgynous lesbian woman – and has led a biweekly discussion circle at the UCLA LGBT Campus Resource Center for queer and transgender people of color, according to the story.

"I'm really passionate about working with queer black youth, because for me it was difficult coming up," Thompson told UCLA. "Being a member of the black LGBT community, I have seen the need for clinical psychologists who are members of this community."

The story traces Thompson's journey from a conservative Christian upbringing to her realization of her sexual identity, and on through her experience at Chaffey College and PCC. Thompson has struggled with her sexual and racial identity throughout her upbringing. During a period of disability leave from her job as a Los Angeles Metro bus driver, she chose to take classes at PCC as a full-time student. "The decision to sacrfice my financial security to pursue my passion in psychology has been the most rewarding decision I've ever made," she told UCLA.

As a PCC graduate, she gave the student commencement speech at the African-American transfer celebration and continues to serve as a transfer student peer counselor. She has worked closely with UCLA's Center for Community College Partnerships, which has built a number of bridges between PCC and the university.

Following the pomp and circumstance in Westwood, Thompson aims to work as a clinical psychologist. For more information about Thompson and the path she took to reach her educational goals, visit the UCLA website.

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