Hands-on with Life and Change
Ashley Garcia came to SMC in fall 2017 with the intention of majoring in Biology.
After taking a cultural anthropology class, everything changed. “It encompassed my
favorite aspects of biology
and history, without all the math,” she said.
As a first-generation college student, Ashley had no one in her family with the experience to help prepare or guide her in her higher education. “I was essentially blind,” she said, “so I heavily relied on the Counseling department.” She involved herself in the Scholars Program, and also joined SMC’s swimming and water polo teams.
“It’s been a chaotic few years,” she said, “especially 2020.” Having dealt with her grandmother’s cancer diagnosis, her father’s uncertain immigration status, and the eventual family-spread COVID-19 diagnosis, “it became overwhelming."
Despite these obstacles, she continued her studies. “Her determination, focus, and strength are admirable,” said SMC Scholars Program Counselor Denise Martinez. “She is a student that has inspired me.” Ashley credits Counselor Martinez, along with SMC Aquatics Coach Brian Eskridge and the unconditional support of her parents and brother, for helping her keep her life on track.
Ashley graduates from SMC with three degrees: an Associate Degree for Transfer in Anthropology and Associate degrees in General Science and in Liberal Arts – Social and Behavioral Science. She will transfer to CSU Long Beach as an Anthropology major, with plans for an advanced degree in Psychology and a career in Counseling, “where I can, hopefully, help guide others in a similar position, which is all I really want to do.”
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