Melinda Pecora “SMC is one of the best community colleges in the nation. ‘Go for it!’ should be the school motto.”

When Melinda Pecora graduated from SMC this spring, she thought her academic life was mapped out for the next few years. But soon after she signed up as a communications major at CSU Northridge, she fell victim to enormous budget cuts. “I went back to see if I could get my classes or to find out what’s available, and there’s nothing,” she reports. “And I’m not going to take classes just for the sake of taking classes.”

Melinda had been accepted into UC Berkeley, UCLA and USC for other majors but opted to go to CSU Northridge to study Communications instead. Right now, she’s trying to figure out what her next move will be. “I might even go into World Arts and Culture at UCLA,” she says. “It’s a new major and it’s getting to be really popular. It’s about studying different cultures around the world. And I really like to travel so I’d like to do something I love at school and not just study for the sake of hopefully making enough money one day.”

Melinda, who graduated from SMC with an impressive 3.8 GPA, has fond memories of her time at the college. “I can’t even think of one class that went wrong,” she says. Asked about her favorite class, the answer comes instantly: “Astronomy with Mr. Fouts. I took two semesters with him, and it was just great. I just like to challenge myself and astronomy, for example, was a big challenge for me,” she says. “And so was statistics. But I studied hard and tried to understand, and in the end I got an A, and that was just great for me.”

Melinda, a Malibu resident, also found that SMC made it possible for her to stay close to the ocean. “I spend a lot of time on the beach and I love watersports. In fact, some friends and I just went out surfing with a huge 10-foot 6-inch board and three of us were surfing on it at once. It truly was a classic.”

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