Andres Alcala Ramirez: Spotlight on Pacifica Admissions

I’m delighted to speak with Andres Alcala Ramirez, our newest Admissions Advisor, and find out more about his professional background and role in Admissions. He advises the MA/PhD in Depth Psychology with Specialization in Jungian and Archetypal Studies, and the MA/PhD in Psychology, Religion, and Consciousness.

Angela: Welcome to Pacifica, Andres, as our newest Admissions Advisor. What program are you working with, and what led you to Pacifica in particular?

Andres: I am working with the M.A./Ph.D. in Depth Psychology with Specialization in Jungian Psychology and Archetypal Studies programs, both the hybrid program and the anticipated fully online program, as well as the fully online M.A./Ph.D. in Psychology, Religion, and Consciousness Online Program. What led me to Pacifica was the structure of the programs and how they’re very nonlinear to traditional 4-year institutions. I really enjoyed the creativity of Pacifica that allows an individual to complete their program and really do what they want with the degree and create new avenues in their current careers with depth psychology in the real world. I had a lot of friends who were interested in Jungian studies, and I noticed that their way of looking at things was different. I felt like human consciousness had a deeper level than what was shown to us growing up. There is more imagery, symbolism, and connections to be made that people don’t take the time to realize unless they’re speaking with someone who can lead you on that journey. So that’s what piqued my interest in Pacifica and depth psychology. When I first started at Pacifica, I asked for reading to better understand depth psychology. That along with the workshops and the lectures I’ve had the privilege to attend here, have helped me with my own self-healing and trauma as a child and maybe see it in a different light, and how that shaped me into the person I am today and why I continue to push forward rather than let things get to me.

Angela: You have the distinction of representing Pacifica’s two new full online programs. What stands out for you about them, and what kind of students are you looking for in applications for them?

Andres: I feel very confident with the shift in the educational world today toward online platforms. I feel Pacifica is going to have a strong initiative to create online programs. Who I look for are those people with some experience working with computers and time management. I look at what they are currently doing in their field, what kind of work-life balance they have, and how they carve out time for professional development. I ask what they’ve done in their current roles to further their education. A lot of them focus on workshops and certifications. Once I see that the candidate has the ability to transition from a traditional school to an online environment, I look at how are they as a learner, figuring out if this is the right program for them. After that, it’s talking about the program and what they find interesting about it. I find out what their expectations are and how they plan to utilize the degree.

Angela: If you don’t mind telling us a little about your background, I’d love to know where you grew up, what your family was like, etc.

Andres: I’m an immigrant. I came to the United States at the age of five and grew up in low-income housing. I was very fortunate that education gave me my calling and my pathway to success. After graduating from college, I felt education was where my passion was, and it gave me a level playing field with those who were born here. So for once in my life, I felt equal or at par with others and felt I could achieve even more. My undergraduate studies were in Chicano Studies. I learned a lot about my heritage and the process of coming to the Untied States and how I identify. After graduating, I decided to work in education. I began teaching health workshops, particularly how to maintain healthy relationships within the low-income communities in Los Angeles, and then with middle school students, focusing on their mental and emotional wellbeing. After that, I started working with high school students, supporting them in pursuing higher education, and the process of applying to four-year institutions. While I was doing that, I was running a mentoring program, connecting adults doing well in their career with students who needed that kind of role model. After a couple of years, I made the leap into higher education, working with nursing students as an academic advisor, supporting them in completion of their degrees. Then a colleague of mine recommended Pacifica to me. Along with conversations with friends, I made the switch to admissions to have the opportunity to speak on behalf of these programs and why an individual should feel excited about joining Pacifica.

Angela: From what you’re saying, I can see how important education has been to you. Is that what inspires you to help others on their graduate student journey?

Andres: Education opens up many doorways. When I speak with candidates, I’m very transparent with them. They’ll ask if I’ve been through the program. I do share the energy and interest of the program, and I put myself in the applicant’s shoes when it comes to embarking on a journey such as a Ph.D. program, as it entails time, commitment, and money. The last thing you want to do is join a program that turns out to not be the right program. So my focus is to share as much information as I can about the program. And really get a sense of whether the student is aware of how big the commitment is. The reason I joined admissions is that I can speak with students before they come here, so I can mitigate some of those doubts they might have.

Angela: What is the most rewarding moments for you as an Admission’s Advisor?

Andres: Hearing everyone’s stories, their journeys that brought them here, their background and upbringing, and how they’re applying their current role to their career options. I appreciate hearing what interests them about the program. I love making the conversation personal so the person can open up about the dreams they hope to pursue once they graduate.

Angela: When you’re not hard at work for Pacifica, what does a day in your life look like? What is important to you outside of work?

Andres: I’m a family person. I have a three-year-old son. I love to spend time with him. I haven’t missed any moments since he’s been born. I’m a shoe collector. I love sneakers. I love sports, in particular soccer. Any chance I get, you’ll catch me at a game.

Angela: Thank you so much for speaking with me today. For people interested in the programs you represent, how can they get ahold of you? Do they need to make an appointment?

Andres: They can just give me a call at 805-220-8613. If I don’t pick up, leave me a few dates and times they’re available and I’ll call back. I definitely prefer speaking to someone rather than email.


Angela Borda is a writer for Pacifica Graduate Institute, as well as the editor of the Santa Barbara Literary Journal. Her work has been published in Food & Home, Peregrine, Hurricanes & Swan Songs, Delirium Corridor, Still Arts Quarterly, Danse Macabre, and is forthcoming in The Tertiary Lodger and Running Wild Anthology of Stories, Vol. 5.