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Staff Spotlight: Patty Padilla

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Updated September 29, 2023

Patty Padilla made a career pivot before she even started her first one. Trained as a special education teacher, she realized her true passion lies in the college experience. She joined MS&E in 2019 and hasn't looked back.


San Francisco State University: MA, Special Education: Extensive Support Needs/Moderate to Severe Disabilities
University of Arizona: BS, Special Education: Mild to Moderate Disabilities

What has led you to the area of Student Services?

As a child, I knew I wanted to become a special education teacher. Starting my undergraduate degree in New York, I majored in Special Education. Mid way, I transferred to The University of Arizona where I earned my bachelor’s degree in Special Education then furthering my education by enrolling in a Masters program for Special Education. Then, towards the end of my program, after 6 years of educational training to become a teacher, at 26 years old I realized that my childhood career goal to become a teacher was no longer desired.

I reflected on when I was happy in my life, hoping that I could take that experience to create a career from it. Reflecting back, I loved being part of a college campus. I remember walking through University of Arizona and loving the vibe being around young adults, desiring to reach their goals and ambitions. I thought about where I could have that same feeling again and it hit me—Stanford! What better college could I work at than Stanford? When I was offered this job, I was speechless with excitement, anticipation, and an overwhelming feeling of joy. I was beyond thrilled. I felt, and still feel, extremely lucky to be a part of such an amazing college campus and community. I truly believe working at Stanford is where I am meant to be.

Role and responsibilities as a Student Services Officer

I provide essential services and assistance regarding areas such as admissions, registration, funding, counseling etc. to students, staff, and faculty members.

What impact do you hope to make in the Student Services office?

Throughout my time at Stanford, I hope to contribute to the quality of students' learning experience and their academic success. I hope to help students explore and clarify their values, experience new opportunities, and to make them feel supported. I did not have the best experience with my Student Services while I was a college student. I hope to create an experience for others that I did not receive.


I am from the Bay Area, a fifth generation born San Franciscan. In my free time I enjoy reading, camping, weight lifting, yoga, photography, and Harry Potter. 

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