Episode 10: Lack of Guidance with Mirna

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My guest today is Mirna Pineda. Mirna grew up in the Los Angeles area to parents who worked as a machine programmer and house cleaner. Mirna was inspired by her father to develop a love of learning and see education as a path toward independence. Mirna attended University of California, Riverside and earned her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Spanish. She also received her Master of Public Administration (MPA) from Keller School of Management. Mirna felt lost in her major and career search, but her social interactions and friendships lead to opportunities and clarity about her career. Ultimately, her choices led to a career that is a good match for her skills and interests. Mirna is currently a Supervising Probation Officer and has been with the Riverside County Probation Department for over 10 years. Here is a little of her First Gen Journey . . .

Show Notes:

In this episode, Mirna details the lack of guidance she experienced throughout college and when deciding on a career path. She discusses her expectations for a professional career and the circumstances that led to a career that combines her interest in criminal law and desire to help others. Here are a few highlights from her episode:

·      Mirna discusses how her parents influenced her expectations for college (1:58).

·      Due to her parents’ example, Mirna associated college with having a career and a love of learning with independence and self-reliance (2:54).

·      Mirna’s early aspiration was to become a pediatrician; mostly because the examples of careers she heard from her parents were doctor and lawyer. Once in college, she found that medicine wasn’t the career path for her (4:54). 

·      Mirna wasn’t sure what career path to follow and wasn’t getting the help she expected from college advisors. When the university pushed her toward a major, she started to take initiative and figured things out on her own (6:44).

·      Once Mirna decided on a major, she was still confused about how to translate that into a career. At the time, Mirna didn’t realize she could turn a personal interest in criminal law into a professional career (11:34).

·      Chance encounters and opportunities led to Mirna’s first job post-college. With some help, she was able to package her past experience in retail as an asset for her chosen career (13:23).

·      Mirna reveals that she didn’t know much about being a probation officer, but after doing some research, she felt it was a good enough match to pursue (16:05). 

·       Mirna reflects on her expectations for a professional career and where those ideas came from (18:24).

 ·      Mirna discusses her experience as a young, woman probation officer. She also comments on having found a career that combines her interest in criminal law and her desire to help people (23:38).

·      Mirna details all the components of a professional career that she loves about her job but didn’t know were going to be important to her (26:53).


Mirna’s Tip for those interested in becoming a probation officer: ask questions, volunteer, or do an internship to get an idea of whether it will be a good fit for you.

If you live in Riverside County, consider volunteering with the Riverside County Probation Department or look for volunteer opportunities at a probation department near you!

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