Rick Torres “I see many people being so aggressive about their careers that it comes across like a madhouse.”

Rick Torres is the first to admit it: “Sometimes I need a little push. And sometimes I need a little kick.” But he seems to be finding plenty of push-as well as the occasional boot—at SMC. “The people in the Scholarship office are just the best,” he testifies. “I didn’t think I’d even apply this semester. But Marcia Brown is such a motivator, and she got me really fired up. I guess you could say,” he adds, chuckling, “she kicked the ‘flake’ right out of me.”

Rick is taking a lot of math and science in pre-engineering “to become an electrical engineer, gearing myself towards sound and audio.” He says that “I admire entrepreneurs who pick themselves up by their bootstraps and launch a creative, money-making idea. But I have a lot of arguments with people about how important money is. The writers who talk about the positive spiritual values—like Hesse and Dostoyevsky—have definitely made an impression on me. But sometimes,” he continues, “I just feel like it’s a tough world where we all have to take care of ourselves.”

Working as technical support in a mail order company, Rick is already working with the computer systems he knows will be the ultimate tools of his trade. “But it’s hard juggling my classes with work,” he admits. “Still, without a degree, you place so many limitations on yourself. And with all the layoffs of qualified people who were working in defense, well…I’d better have every advantage I can get.”

Good engineer that he is, Rick occasionally finds an extra hour or two on a weekend. “That’s when I pile into my little ’68 Bronco and head for a couple of waterfalls up in the Angeles Crest.” Escape. The ultimate engineering job.

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