Concepcion Barajas will graduate from Cal State San Bernardino’s Palm Desert Campus on Thursday, June 13, with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She is not the only member of her family to attend college these past few years; three out of four of her children also attended other CSUs at the same time.
Barajas’ youngest daughter Alicia attends Cal State Fullerton, working on a bachelor’s degree in human services and American studies; her son Alexander attends Sonoma State University, working on a bachelor’s degree in computer science; and her third oldest daughter Amanda received a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and American studies from CSU Fullerton in 2018. Her oldest daughter, Daniella, also completed a master’s degree in Spanish from the University of Spain in 2014. 
Barajas says that her children motivated her to obtain her college degree at this later stage of her life, and she wanted to be a role model for students her age to let them know that it’s possible to attend college at any age. 
She is also earning a degree to honor her parents who did not have the opportunity to receive any type of education. She says that she told her children that, “school and obtaining a college degree are the most important decisions they will make in their lives.” 
Barajas comes from a large family with four sisters and four brothers. She was raised in a small village in Mexico with very little schooling. She came to the United States at the age of 12 and had to learn to read and write in both Spanish and English.
Barajas says that she wanted to quit many times, but all she had to do is look forward to what was waiting for her; “a better future.” Her thoughts to quit were also overpowered by her desire to better herself as a person, student, parent and grandmother. She wanted to make her children, peers and family members proud. 
Her mentors include all of the professors she studied with at the Palm Desert Campus who “gave me the tools to learn new concepts and the motivation to do better in school and in life.”
Barajas chose to major in psychology because she loves working with people and wants to “pay it forward” within her community. After graduation, she plans on finding employment in a hospital or a counseling setting, while also applying to a master’s program.
The university’s motto is “We Define the Future.” Barajas said that for her, this means “endless opportunities for everyone who has the desire to reach their goal in life, no matter their background.”
The CSUSB Palm Desert Campus offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees, a doctorate in educational leadership, and teacher credentials and certificates. With more than 1,400 students, it is the Coachella Valley’s four-year public university and plays a vital role in educating and training the region’s growing population.
For more information about the CSUSB Palm Desert Campus, contact Mike Singer in the Office of Public Affairs at or (760) 341-2883, ext. 78107, or visit the campus website at