Camilo Encina


Liana Alieva

Connected, but Not a Number

Camilo Encina was at risk of being left behind when SMC moved its classes to online platforms because he didn’t have the technology he needed at home. A participant in SMC’s Adelante Program and EOPS, he received an email from both programs offering the chance to borrow a Chromebook through SMC’s free laptop-lending program.

According to Camilo — a sophomore majoring in Political Science who is working to transfer to a university — the resources and support he’s found at SMC from the start have been substantial. He had plans to attend a four-year college or university after graduating from high school, but the lack of affordability hindered those plans, “so I decided to attend SMC, where helpful advisers made sure I had the information I needed to make the most of my time here.”

Amazed by the attentiveness of SMC’s counselors, Camilo said, “Compared to experiences at other colleges, I didn’t feel like a number at SMC. The faculty I encountered took their time to make sure I was welcome and informed.”

The shift from on-campus to distance learning wasn’t ideal for Camilo. “I prefer a tangible learning environment,” he said, “where I can hear and see my professors and classmates in person.” With the Chromebook, however, he has been able to attend classes and complete assignments from home while staying in touch with his instructors and counselors.

In addition to borrowing a Chromebook, Camilo subscribed to the SMC Foundation Meal Program, which he says “has been a tremendous help.” Acutely aware of the escalation in food insecurity as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, he volunteers at a local food bank. “I believe leading with compassion, learning to be accountable, and staying informed will help us endure this crisis.”