Dee Cappelli


Dee Cappelli & DorySeeing Beyond the Immediate

Dee Cappelli transposed a class section number, and accidentally enrolled in ANTHRO 3: World Archaeology.

“I was a Liberal Arts major and didn’t even know what anthropology was,” she said, “but I discovered a field of study with everything that I love.” Anthropology became Dee’s new major.

In Physical Anthropology, Dr. Ciarán Brewster encouraged students to apply for SMC’s STEM program, which Dee did. STEM provides an academic support program for science, technology, engineering, and math majors. “STEM focused me on scientific research,” she said, “and gave me the opportunity to study with students in other majors.” She also credits STEM counselor Debbie Ostorga for professional guidance and support.

Dee, past president of SMC’s Anthropology Club and a commissioner on the City of Santa Monica Disabilities Commission, walked marathons for 10 years. She said she’s learned that “one person — like Jane Goodall — can make a huge difference in a lifetime. You can create change to make the world a better place. Just do it one step at a time, like a marathon.”

With limited vision, Dee is inseparable from her service dog Dory, who guides her around physical obstacles and helps keep her from losing balance. “He’s the reason I could go back to school and has been a true partner. Too bad we’re not having a real-life graduation ceremony. I’d love them to acknowledge what a service dog can help accomplish.”

Dee graduates — along with Dory — from SMC with Associate degrees in Anthropology and in Liberal Arts. She has been accepted to four UC campuses as an Anthropology major, and has decided to attend UC Santa Cruz.

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