Juan Vasquez “We can’t afford to leave young people out in the emptiness regarding their educations. I was in that position, so I know.”

Juan Vasquez was very happy to report the news. “I won the Mabbrito award and scholarship. I applied for many others. But in the interview for the Mabbrito, I told the screening staff that I was putting my fair share of education back into the community.” The scholarship was only the material recognition of Juan’s enthusiasm about learning; countless high school kids have already benefitted from his commitment.

“I’m a counseling aide for SMC,” says Juan, who plans to take an MBA and work in civil engineering. “I work in the college Outreach program, talking to high school students and helping them fill out their application forms and requests for financial aid.” He knows the ropes at SMC and is always a willing guide around campus. “Some of them even come to me with their personal problems,” he continues, “and I always try to help them out.”

“I’m going into engineering technology,” says Juan. “And with an MBA, I know I will have a lot of options no matter which way the wind blows.” But wherever the wind takes him, it will take his family too. “I have a wife and a two-month-old daughter,” says Juan. “That makes school twice as hard. But my little one is the light of my life and I work very hard to be the best for both of them!”

Juan says that seeing the world is also an important part of plans for the future. “I’ve always wanted to join the Peace Corps,” he says. “And I don’t care where they send me: Central or South America, Africa, or wherever I’m needed most. Seeing other cultures will give me a better appreciation of my own,” he continues. “And along the way, I can teach my daughter about what’s really important in life.”

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