Editor’s Note: To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, Kern Sol News is highlighting notable Hispanic leaders in Kern County who are working to create positive change in their community.
Sammie Meneses loved the mission and vision of Central California Asthma Collaborative (CCAC) and the idea that she could make a difference in some capacity, especially with underserved communities.
Meneses grew up on the East Coast until she was 22. After graduating with her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from Goodwin University, she worked for a consulting company for three years. At this company, she worked in the environmental lab as a lab analyst, testing different samples of water, soil, paint chips, etc. to make sure the samples were in compliance with the state level.
She then moved out of the country to pursue her master’s degree. She attended the Norwegian University of Life Sciences in Norway to receive her master’s degree in International Environmental Studies.
After she received her master’s, she moved back to the East Coast and worked as an Environmental Fellow for a company in Maine working on mitigation plans and resiliency before moving to California to work for the CCAC.
“I feel that being part of CCAC greatly defines the type of person I am. Before I joined the CCAC, I really wanted to make a difference in people’s lives in some way,” said Meneses. “I am also passionate about the environment and making sure I provide information that is educational to have people be able to protect themselves and their families. I knew I couldn’t just come into the position and make big changes, but I think starting with little changes will create a big systematic change.”
A big thing she wants to change in Delano is to make sure that all the residents have their voices heard at all levels. She wants them to feel empowered and comfortable enough to be their own advocates for change as well.
“One big thing I would like to accomplish in Delano is opportunities for more funding and for Delano to be a sustainable hub for present and future generations. I feel hopeful and happy when I help out the community. I want to make sure I put my best foot forward and give 1000% of my energy, time, and heart to make sure that I can help as many residents as I can,” said Meneses.
When she was younger she worked in the food customer service industry throughout her high school and college years. She also worked as an intern and as an executive assistant to the CEO of the internship.
“A little bit about myself is that I like to cook, dance, watch old movies, and travel. I have lived in Norway and visited Italy, Sweden, and Germany. One of my favorite comfort foods is nachos or macaroni and cheese. I love dogs as I have grown up with them my whole life,” said Meneses.
To Meneses, Hispanic Heritage Month means to be proud and revolutionary.
“I am proud to be a Latina woman working in a field that not many people study. It is revolutionary because I am hoping that it gives young girls and boys no matter where they come from that they can make a difference in someone’s life or even a whole community,” said Meneses.
Meneses wanted to say thank you to Brianda Castro and Gustavo Aguirre, fellow coworkers at the CCAC.
“They have been the best team throughout this process. They helped me with the meetings, outreach, and giving all their time and energy to help the community as much as possible,” said Menese.