Jackie Lee “Working in EOPS was a perfect match. I can totally relate to my first-generation college students because… that’s me!”

“I was talking with Dan Nannini at a conference, and he was bragging about how wonderful SMC is and how they have the number one transfer rate,” recalls Jackie Lee of her chance intro to the College. “So I started thinking about SMC. Wow! Was I surprised when I got ‘The Call!’ And being in EOPS is such an added bonus, because I was born in the Philippines myself, so I know what a lot of immigrant students in this program are going through.”

Jackie sees herself as a sort of ‘gatekeeper’ ushering people through the door to a better life. “I see myself in a lot of my students and I know how they have problems assimilating and adjusting to college,” she says. “Hey, I was on academic probation myself in the first year! I just didn’t know anything about how to use the system and all the services. I had no one to guide me,” she recalls. “So I’m now in an ideal place to make sure my students don’t have to go through what I did.”

Talking about her new SoCal life, Jackie has only one complaint… and it’s an odd one. “It’s the weather!” she says with a laugh. “I basically grew up in Hawaii, so I’ve had to adjust. But in a lot of ways, SMC reminds me of home. The diversity here is incredible, with students coming here from all over the world. And I want them all to know that EOPS is there for them; with counseling, book purchases, or just some simple friendship.” Okay, Jackie. Now if we can just do something about this terrible weather….

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