Ethnic Studies

Meet Ethnic Studies Alumnae

Joan Flores
Class of 2001
Nurse Practitioner

Joan Flores

“My Ethnic Studies degree has helped me so much in my career as a health care provider.”


Awards and honors: Germaine Thompson Award (French Department). I am also a first generation college graduate, which isn't really an “official” Mills award, but has been a big achievement in my family.

What are you doing now and what are the highlights of your achievements or experiences since graduation?
Since graduating from Mills, I have had the chance to live abroad teaching English and French, engage in social justice work in the Bay Area, and earn a MSN from Yale University's School of Nursing. Over the last several years I have been working as a Registered Nurse and Nurse Practitioner in women's health, primary care, and HIV care. I recently returned to California to be closer to my mom.

How did your Ethnic Studies degree prepare you for your current position?
My Ethnic Studies degree has helped me so much in my career as a health care provider. There are so many different racial and gender health disparities in this country, and my background as an Ethnic Studies major definitely helps me to better understand the roots of these disparities. I also feel like a more well-rounded health provider who is able to understand the social issues that impact my individual patients' health.

How did being a part of the Ethnic Studies community at Mills change you?
The Ethnic Studies community at Mills provided me with a safe environment to explore issues I was just beginning to question and think about at the time (identity, racism, etc.). As a first-generation college student, I found support and friendship from professors and classmates, which helped me have confidence in myself so I could get through Mills and pursue other dreams.

What life lessons would you like to offer to current Ethnic Studies majors and minors?
Be kind and compassionate to yourself. This can be so hard, but it's also so important; it's hard to feel content and at peace when we are constantly judging ourselves. Also—don't forget to spend time in nature!

What are your future goals?
Future goals include figuring out what the concept of “family” means to me, continuing along my spiritual path (meditation/mindfulness), engaging in issues I care about, and becoming a more serious writer.