Laura Larqué’s parents taught her to be critical and to question everything. Their life lessons are at the base of her foundation as a strong woman and a beloved SRJC educator, whose most recent accomplishment is the 2015 National Institute of Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) Excellence Award. While she accepts awards with humble gratitude, Laura considers an even more rewarding measure of her achievements is how well she has served her students and community.
Born and raised in Mexico City, Laura is the youngest of six siblings of a working class family and the only one to attend college. Her parents did not have the opportunity to study past sixth grade and worked hard to make a living, maintaining a progressive atmosphere at home and both were union organizers. Evenings, the family gathered around the table, as the children took turns reading from a book, newspaper or pamphlet, and discussing it. Laura and her siblings started paid work at a very young age, in order to contribute to the household expenses, yet Laura was eager to absorb more knowledge. Inspired by the Mexican Student Movement of 1968 and encouraged by her parents, Laura attended the prestigious University of Mexico (UNAM) and achieved a BA in sociology. She wanted to work at community organizing in Mexico City or in the rural areas, but life took her into another direction.
After earning her degree, Laura followed her husband and moved to Santa Rosa, California. Speaking only Spanish and French, she realized she needed to learn English in order to build a career. She started taking classes, first at Lewis Adult School and then at SRJC, where she ended up getting a certificate in Nutrition. Soon, Laura began working for SRJC’s Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS), and a coworker, impressed with her knowledge, advised her to seek an equivalent of her degree from UNAM. She took her transcript to Sonoma State University, where her education was recognized as a bachelor’s degree, and a few years later she achieved a master’s degree in history.
At that time, SRJC and SSU had just established a joint internship program. Laura applied and was among the few chosen. She shadowed an SRJC instructor for one year and had her first opportunity to teach. She loved the experience and knew it was a career she would pursue.
Laura has taught at SRJC for the past 20 years and she said: “My greatest satisfaction is to teach the students everything I know. I don’t hold anything back. If you live with a philosophy like that you go to work happy, every day. I love my job!” Besides sharing knowledge, Laura has collaborated with other faculty at SRJC to develop the Latin American Studies Program and has significantly revised existing courses and created new ones reflecting the history of Latin America. She has also mentored students in both the Puente and Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanista de Aztlán (MEChA) programs and served our SRJC community with all her gifts and talents.