Meet Ignacia Villavelazquez-Hill, the Accessible Education Center Director

Ignacia Villavelazquez-Hill, MA

Director, Accessible Education Center 


First day of work at San Jose State University – March 1, 2005

How did you get here? 

I discovered Student Affairs during my student assistant time at my alma mater UCSC, but it wasn’t a profession I decided to pursue until after having worked in K-12, community college, and nonprofit. Once I realized higher education was what brought me the most joy, I turned to SJSU for a graduate degree. While a student here I joined the then Disability Resource Center staff and found my calling. 

I’ve had the opportunity to learn the field from the ground up and continue to find the ever-changing work fascinating. Not one day goes by where I don’t learn something new, be it from our students, my colleagues, or caselaw. 

Who were your role models or mentors?

Growing up, my parents were my first role models. They did so much with so little. At times working extremely long hours, but somehow managing to always being present when it counted. Their ability to multi-task and be creative problem solvers are qualities I apply in my own life/work life. 

As a young professional I’ve been blessed with amazing mentors. Most recently my previous supervisor. She had impressive strong work ethic and a continuous drive to learn. I model my professional development methods around her recommendations so that I, too, may stay relevant in a field that is constantly changing

What are your tips for getting started in this field?

A graduate degree in a related field is best, but be ready to be a lifetime learner. Take advantage of any opportunity to intern. This will give you first-hand experience to determine if disability support services is a good fit. 

Your work will have meaningful impact on students overcoming some serious obstacles. You will think outside the box and learn to analyze issues from all angles. 

What are your most important habit(s) or resource(s) for staying well?

  • Taking a few moments daily to breath, relax, and stay hydrated. 
  • Reliving life through my kids eyes – every new activity is an adventure.