Emmanuel Minaya “I’m taking all the science and math I can get my hands on: the SMC nursing program is worth waiting for.”

Emmanuel Minaya has been at SMC for two semesters and admits that at least part of his choice was based on the local climate. “I spent my first month in the States as a tourist,” he says. “New York, Baltimore, Detroit…” the list seems to make him shiver. “They’re all freezing places! So I settled on California.”

Manny, as he is known to his friends, comes from the Negros province in the Phillipines. “It’s sugar cane country, where my family has a small farm,” he says. “You can make pretty good money in sugar, actually. But it’s a violent place and my future there pointed towards probably getting into trouble. So we all came here: me, my brothers and, soon, my sister.” Manny points out that during the Marcos regime, Negros was the scene of heavy fighting for years. “But even with the new government, things are a little better, a little worse. What can you do? Our leaders pocket the money.”

Manny is currently studying all the math and science he can get his hands on. “I really want to get into nursing,” he says. “But the waiting period for the program is two years.” Still, he plans to persevere. “And some day, when I’m established, I want to be able to send some money back to my family.” He says that “ideally, I’d like to divide my time between the U.S. and the Phillipines and practice medicine in both countries. But I’ll go wherever I have to to help people. It’s just something that makes me feel good.”

But until he graduates from nursing, Manny will have to make do with the California beach. “And I have to confess,” he adds, laughing, “it’s not so much the beach as those I meet on the beach.”

Read more stories from present and past years in the SMC Student Spotlight Archive.