Marie Hecht “I got a BA many years ago and then left school to have children and raise a family. Now I’m coming back, and SMC provided me the means.”

Having five kids can certainly be considered an education, in and of itself. But when her kids grew up and began making their own boisterous way through life, Marie Hecht began feeling a hunger for something more. “My daughter is going to SMC, and seeing her take classes motivated me to try it also. It’s been about three years now,” she states, “because I had to go slowly. But now I’m once again taking a full load.” And with patience, pace, and SMC’s Mentor Program in the Arts, Marie is steadily advancing toward her lifelong goal.

“I want to transfer to UCLA in Art Conservation—a program that will open up in two years—and I’d like to become a conservator. That means taking art, books, photographs, or sculpture, and preserving them or restoring them to their original state, when possible,” she explains. “The UCLA program will be the first of its kind on the West Coast; an exciting thing,” she adds. But Marie is already thoroughly immersed in the world of art, courtesy of SMC.

“I’m the first student in the Mentor program to be involved in Art History,” says Marie with distinct pride. “And my Mentor, Maria Buszek, has been wonderfully helpful to me because she’s given me such direction and a knowledge of research tools that I really don’t think I’d have gotten any other way. That one-on-one relationship builds great strength and encourages you to reach for all your goals,” she says. “And the program has really opened my eyes to the totality of opportunities: art history, restoration, illustration, teaching. There’s just so much! And I encourage other women in my situation to explore their own potential in the Arts as well.”

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