A unique opportunity to work for the United States government has inspired one Edinburg teacher’s dream of one day working for the United Nations.
Diane Gorena, 30, says her previous jobs abroad in China, combined with her strong drive to help the community in other nations is driving her will to seek work among the nations of Asia and/or Mexico.
“My goal is to work for the United Nations. That’s what I’m trying to do,” says Gorena, who has been teaching oral language (ESL) to students at Memorial Middle School for the last seven years. Many of her students are comprised of immigrants who are just beginning their education in the United States.
“Ever since I was a missionary in China for two years, and was teaching at a private school, I wanted to give back to the community and do something,” she said.
Gorena was one step closer last summer when she completed a six-week internship with the U.S. Department of Education in Washington D.C. Among her duties at DOE was working on creating excel spread sheets of Best Practices for educators across the nation. Her job also included the creation of training opportunities for non-profit organizations via webinars and meetings in local libraries.
“The best part of my internship was meeting with the staff and interns discussing the goals of the initiative and being asked my input by national leaders,” Gorena said. “It was amazing to witness how great leaders are creating positive change for Hispanics across our nation. I was able to interact with local elementary students and participate in events … and meeting the granddaughter of Cesar Chavez, (Julie Chavez). She was down to earth and so easy to talk to.”
She was invited back to Washington in October to participate in a presidential signing of the Department’s White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. It was at that time when she met President Obama in person, and said she was inspired by his commitment to education for minorities.
“I asked my students if they had a message they wanted to give to him (Obama) and one of the more mature ones said ‘tell him thank you for allowing us to study in this country’,” Gorena said.
“He (Obama) spoke about the Dream Act and his support behind it, which gives students hope, who are striving to become productive citizens and want to pursue a degree beyond H.S,” she said.
Gorena earned an associates degree from Blinn College in communication disorders in 2000. She then earned a Diploma of Theology from Christ for the Nations in 2002., and finally a Bachelor of Arts and Science in English from Dallas Baptist University, where she graduated Cum Laude in 2004. She holds certificate of EC-4 Bilingual Education and ELA and ESL in grades 4 to 8.
Gorena is currently a secretary for the Association of Public Administrators, a member of the American Society of Public Administrators and member of the American Federation of Teachers.
She is currently working for her Masters in Public Administration at the University of Texas-Pan American.
“My advice for those interested in pursuing a career in education is to go for it! It is one of the most rewarding careers you will ever have,” Gorena said. “I have been an educator for the past six years and will gladly continue the fight to help our students achieve their fullest potential.”