Class of 2021: Our Graduates

Los Angeles Southwest College is so proud of all of our Class of 2021 graduates who will be participating in the Virtual Recognition Ceremony on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. 

Learn more about some of these special graduates, their experiences, who supported them, and what's next in their journey by clicking their name or photo below.*

Congrats graduates!

 

AlondraAbeni

AlmaAlma

DejonBarbara

Bernardo Bernardo

Bri AnaBri' Ana

Camille GradCamille

C. OsmanChristine

DanielDaniel

DamarysDamarys

Mary GradEbonie

GiftGift

Myriam GradJennifer

JessicaJessica

JuanJuan

KhadijahKhadijah

TumaraKimberly

LeslieLeslie

LuzLuz

MarielyMariely

MartinMartin

AlondraMichelle

MohamadMohamad

MarielySelena

MarielySheridan

WylanWylan

VanessaVanessa

KeiryKeiry

WylanDianne

HermesHermes

HermesEsperanza

AmeliaAmelia

LavontaLavonta

BriaBria

KelvinKelvin

RoxanaRoxana

KevinKevin

 

Abeni Coleman

Degree you earned at LASC: Social and Behavioral Sciences as well as Liberal Studies (Teacher Prep)

Tell us about your journey to graduation? I started at LASC in 2008 with only a high school diploma and living on my own at 21 years old. I had a three-year-old daughter to support as I was working and attending school as a first-generation student. I am one of six siblings and had no knowledge on how to get started with applications and funding. I moved around and struggled in areas of studying and working a full-time job. Over the course of attending LASC, and with help from making friends and meeting some professors, I was able to navigate through challenges or questions that could only be answered with experience. I was with child once again 10 years later and still attending LASC and working a full-time job. The loss of a loved one motivated me to keep going. In 2018, I was with child once more, only this time the experiences shaped me into a much stronger student. I gained more knowledge of how to make it through course even through different pregnancies, struggling with my studies, and financially supporting my family. After 13 years as a student at LASC, I am proud to say my journey has come to a bitter sweet end. LASC is the first black community college in our district and I am so grateful having my education start and end here.

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? My biggest supporter to this day would have to be my mom. No matter the circumstances, she has always encouraged me to use her as my backup plan of assistance. She has always been there for me to live my life happily while putting my children and education first. This mindset has definitely been instilled in me. My other team of support are my three children. As time has gone by, the excitement of me having them participate in my life as a student has made me very grateful for the circumstances I have created for them from having them in the campus daycare to participating in campus festivities and book fairs. My oldest child, my daughter Julian, at 16 has shown me such a strong determination in simply gaining knowledge to acquire only to be able to share with her. I am able to share my experience, but I am also am the one who will guide her to her next chapter to create generational wealth and knowledge.

What's next for you? I plan to transfer thtis Fall Semester to Cal State Northridge and continuing my education in sociology.

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Alma Manjarrez

Degree you earned at LASC: Child Development Liberal Arts as well as Child Development

Tell us about your journey to graduation: My journey at LASC was undoubtedly an extraordinary experience. I learned to know myself.  At LASC, I learned that the English language should not be a barrier. After all my effort, I happily can say that I am the first generation in my family who graduated from college.

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? Each of the teachers who were part of my growth and learning left an indelible mark on my personality and behavior. However, I want to thank Ms. LaShawn Brinson from the Child Development Department for all the support she gave me during the most challenging times in my life. Above all, I want to thank my husband for all the support; my achievements would never have been possible without you. Thank you for taking care of our children and me.

What's next for you? After graduating from LASC, I hope to get my Bachelor's of Arts in Human Development from Pacific Oaks College, which is in process, as I hope to graduate in August 2021.

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Barbara Sweetwine

Degree you earned at LASC: Liberal Studies (Teacher Prep) and Psychology

Tell us about your journey to graduation: I had a lot of personal discipline to learn while completing my degree.  I began taking classes in Los Angeles, transferred to Washington D.C., and back home to Los Angeles Southwest College to complete my final year for an AA in Psychology. It has been more than 10 years since I took my first class. I have had many jobs and experiences in that time with a lot of people who didnt believe that I could become who I said I would become. There were also some jewels speckled throughout that timeline with people who supported me thoroughly, sometimes believing in me more than I believed in myself. Now I have the opportunity to continue my education having more confidence and strength in who I am becoming!

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? My biggest supporter has been my older brother who is also a first generation college graduate and my mother who does her best to support me in any way she can!

What's next for you? I will be transferring to California State University Bakersfield to earn a BA in Psychology. I will be moving to the area permanently and will start a new job in the field of psychology.

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Bernardo Cortez-Paniagua

Degrees you earned at LASC: Liberal Arts: Natural Sciences

Tell us about your journey to graduation: COVID-19 made it challenging in keeping up on school work and class schedules, however, through the support of the professors at LASC I was able to make it to this day.

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? Dr. Alisha Patel, Dr. Erum Syed, Dr. Todd Roberts, and Professor Guadalupe Ramos have shown in their classes how to navigate through their classes and maintain the love of discovery.

What's next for you? I will be transferring to University of California, Irvine, and will pursue a Bachelor's Degree in Public Health Policy.

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Bri' Ana Breland

Degree you earned at LASC: Social and Behavioral Sciences, Liberal Arts: Natural Sciences as well as Liberal Studies (Teacher Prep)

Tell us about your journey to graduation: Being a full-time mother and student all while helping and teaching my children the importance of education

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? At LASC, my biggest supporters were my counselors and a few peers. In my personal life, I was my number one supporter followed by my mother and fiancé.

What's next for you? I will apply for a nursing program and then transfer to a university where I will earn my bachelor's and master's degrees.

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Camille Forby

Degree you earned at LASC: Social and Behavioral Sciences, Psychology of Substance Abuse, Liberal Studies (Teacher Prep) as well as Psychology

Tell us about your journey to graduation: My journey consisted of endless and countless days and nights of telling myself that I can do it. I am a non-traditional student and with work, family and a child, it was not easy. My schedule included Saturday classes, night classes and online classes. I was determined to get my degree from Los Angeles Southwest College. I sacrificed a lot socially. While my friends were partying and planning vacations, I was studying with one goal in mind: finishing my degree. My experience at Los Angeles Southwest College will be memorable.

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? Ronald Haynes, Dr. Leonard Apenahier, Dr. Sandra Lee, Dr. Sharon Maselli, and Jessica Drawbond. These educators all played a different part in my advancement in my education and my professional career as well.

What's next for you? I will transfer from LASC and move forward with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology.  I have been accepted to Cal State University, Dominguez Hills. I will be fourth generation student. My grandmother and mother graduated from Cal State Dominguez Hills and my son is currently a junior at Cal State Dominguez Hills.

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Christine Osman

Degrees you earned at LASC: Administration Justice

Tell us about your journey to graduation? Raising five children and taking 19 units is not easy at all. I wanted a better life for my children so I decided to go back to college. I was scared in the beginning because I have not been in school for over 10 years but I did not let that stop me. My professors have been so understanding and I am so grateful to Southwest College for believing in me. This is only the beginning.The marathon continues. Thank You LORD

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? My Lord and Savior, my mother, my husband, and my children are my biggest supporters

What's next for you? Transferring to either Cal State Long Beach or Cal State Dominguez. I want to continue my education and go to school for my bachelor's and then for my masters. The sky is the limit with God anything is possible

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Daniel Smith

Degree you earned at LASC: Liberal Studies (Teacher Prep)

Tell us about your journey to graduation? I am a first generation (meaning first one in my immediate family to graduate from college), non-traditional (meaning I'm not 18-25-years-old) college student who has had an almost impossible journey to the stage. I'm four years clean and sober and graduated from Maxine Waters Employment Preparation Center with a GED in June 2017. I was encouraged at the ceremony to further my education because I was worth it. I was enrolled and registered by Fall Semester 2017. I was nervous about my ability to keep up with the school work and turns out I would get straight A's all the way to graduation. I have been hospitalized for nine days on dialysis with an acute kidney injury in the middle of a semester. I've been living in transitional housing this whole time and Southwest has met me where I was and provided a safe space for me to cultivate an education. I have been on the Dean's List and the President's Honors List and lost my mother (Who was my rock) all at the same time. I love Southwest because they treated me like family and constantly encouraged me to press on. I will never forget the lesson I've learned at Los Angeles Southwest College.

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? People like Dr. Angelita Salas from TRiO STEM, Mrs. Rachelle Thomas-Green in EOPS, Professor Jonathan Evans who never gave up on me, Professor Jeff Bohn who wouldn't accept anything but the best from me. Dr. Maisha Jones who taught me it's okay to be me, Professor Susan Collins-Head who constantly pushed me because she saw something in me. President Dr. Seher Awan who has been a Godsend and a smiling face when I needed one. Countless staff in the Student Services Building and the librarians were ever present and excited to see me succeed. They say it takes a village and I definitely have one like my Mother who loved me unconditionally and taught me to be determined. Gloria McCaleb who always encourages me and has changed my outlook as well as my life.

What's next for you? I will be transferring to Cal State Dominguez Hills in Fall 2021.

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Damarys Garcia

Degree you earned at LASC: Sociology

Tell us about your journey to graduation? I graduated high school in 2008 and started at Southwest a year after that. Due to being an immigrant student, I was not able to afford college so I dropped out and worked full time at a job where I was not only unhappy and not earning what I deserved. I then had my first child and my time was very tight. Two children and a pandemic later, I decided to finish what I started at Southwest and work toward a better and brighter future, not only for me but for my small family.

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? My husband was my No. 1 supporter. He pushed me to keep working hard and not give up, to have patience and that everything would work out. My parents, siblings and my best friend Betty cheered me on and told me I could do it. I was mostly motivated because I want my kids to have a great future, and I want to be able to provide them with anything and everything. LASC, thank you for this opportunity to walk toward a great future!

What's next for you? I have officially been admitted to Cal State University, Los Angeles. I will work hard to receive my degree in Sociology where I will mainly be focused in Law and Society.

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Ebonie Mathias

Degree you earned at LASC: Liberal Arts: Child Development

Tell us about your journey to graduation? I've been on this journey a long time. Once I had children, I put them first and worked to make sure they had everything they needed. During this time, I only took classes when I was able to fit them in but I never stopped. Once my oldest graduated from high school, I felt it was my time to focus on myself. I wanted to advance in my career so I knew I needed to get back into school. I lost my husband in 2018 and this was devastating for my kids and myself but also made me want to make sure I finished what I started because he was my biggest supporter. I now have two children in college, along with myself, and I know they are watching me, which makes me go even harder. The point is never give up and never stop.

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? My husband, mom and children

What's next for you? I will be transferring to the Arizona State University online program

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Gift Onwenna

Degree you earned at LASC: Liberal Arts: Natural Sciences as well as Liberal Studies (Teacher Prep)

Tell us about your journey to graduation? Graduating today is a dream come true as I never thought I would be able to do it. I started my journey as a working mother of a three-year-old daughter and a three-months-old son. I worked the night shift as a certified nursing assistant in a hospital. It was tedious because I had to drive from work to school and back home to care for my three months old baby. I almost gave up, but the encouraging words of my professors, friends, family, and my counselor kept me going and, at the end, it was worth it.

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? My professors Stephanie Arms, Erum Syed, Zekarias Dammena and Pogban Toure.

What's next for you? My plan is to start my Master of Science in Nursing program in fall 2021 at Charles Drew University.

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Jennifer Aguilar

Degree you earned at LASC: Physics, Liberal Arts Natural Sciences and Liberal Studies

Tell us about your journey to graduation: One of my hardest obstacles towards my journey to graduation was no excuses was made as I passed every semester being a single mother of 2 daughters and working full time as a health care worker at Long Beach Medical Center.

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? My biggest supporters were my parents, some family, friends, and coworkers.

What's next for you? I got accepted to Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science this past Spring 2021. There I will complete My Bachelors in Biomedical of Science.

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Jessica Dillingham

Degree you earned at LASC: Social and Behavioral Sciences, Liberal Arts: Natural Sciences as well as Liberal Studies (Teacher Prep)

Tell us about your journey to graduation: While attending school full-time and part-time, I had to balance going to a vocational program as a certified nursing assistant and working a full-time job. In the midst of that, I had to incorporate time for school, studying, and working 12 hour shifts, sometimes 16 hour shifts at a hospital. There were times where I had to take my laptop and notebook to work so I could submit my homework on time or study for the next test that was due the next day. 

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? My biggest supporters are my mom, my siblings, and my boyfriend.

What's next for you? I plan to transfer to enroll into a nursing program or focus solely on earning a bachelor's degree so I can continue to go onto school to become a physician's assistant.

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Juan Santos

Degree you earned at LASC: Psychology of Substance Abuse as well as Psychology

Tell us about your journey to graduation: I get really emotional when I talk about how difficult it has been for me to be able to graduate from college at 50 years young. For the past seven plus years, I have been taking care of my mom (who has advanced Alzheimer's/Dementia), and after getting laid off from my job a year ago, I decided to go back to school and get a degree. There were many times where I wanted to quit due to being physically, mentally and emotionally tired, but the thought of inspiring my kids and myself kept me going. I live alone with my mom and I don't have much family here, but I have my kids and even my ex-wife and her family are like my own immediate family and they will celebrate with me. Being able to graduate from college will give me a boost in life and a sense of accomplishment that I know my mom would be proud of if she was able to understand what's going on. The teachers at LASC have been attentive, caring, patient and understanding. I'm proud to be associated with LASC. I remember back in the days when LASC was considered just a college in the hood, but we have come far from that stigma to be a wonderful city college with the resources needed to spring forward students from the hood that seek a better education away from the street life and the negative stigma of living in South LA. I'm a proud Cougar!

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? My kids, Gladys and Johnny Santos, my ex-wife and their mother Zoila Herrera, and her family have always had their doors open for me even after our amicable divorced many years ago. They are the reason that I keep going, even when I feel mentally and emotionally tired, I think about how proud they would be if I graduate and that makes me keep pushing.

What's next for you? I will be transferring to Cal State University, Dominguez Hills, and I'm proud to say that I have already been accepted to start this upcoming 2021 Fall Semester. My major will be Health Care Management.

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Khadijah Allen

Degree you earned at LASC: Associate of Science in Natural Sciences.

Tell us about your journey to graduation: I am a young mother of a beautiful baby girl who is now nine years old. I have been a full-time worker and mother the whole time while attending school. School has been such a challenge for me and there have been times where I wanted to quit but I didn't by the grace of God. Southwest College has been so amazing to me. I love the professors here.

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? In my personal life, my family has been my biggest supporters. My mom has supported me through this whole journey and, of course, my daughter. She motivated me in ways that is unimaginable.

What's next for you? My next stop will be to attend a nursing program so I can pursue my dream in the medical field.

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Kimberly Yanez

Degrees you earned at LASC: Nursing as well as Liberal Arts: Natural Sciences

Tell us about your journey to graduation: I was an older student when I applied to go to college. I was at a point in my life that I felt I wanted more. My job wasn't enough for me anymore. I needed to prove to myself that I could do better. Don't get me wrong, I loved what I did but my children deserve so much more than what I was giving them. While attending school, I worked full time, had to make sure we had a roof over our heads and food on the table. I stumbled once or twice in school but I never gave up. Overall, I feel I did pretty well.  I am proud of myself. Since attending LASC, I have moved out of state two different times and I have never let my grades slip all while being a mother, wife and independent contractor. I did what I had to do in order to finish.

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? This answer is always the easiest: My children, my husband, my siblings, my mom and a few friends that I consider family. They are the ones always cheering me on. They have supported me from day one and this accomplishment is all for them. Gracias a todos

What's next for you? While I took classes here at LASC, I was also accepted into Idaho State University. I have two more semesters to complete my bachelor's degree. My plan is to get my bachelor's of science in nursing. The final goal will be to become a registered nurse.

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Leslie Alamo Tapia

Degree you earned at LASC: Biology, Liberal Arts: Natural Sciences as well as Liberal Studies (Teacher Prep)

Tell us about your journey to graduation? I started my journey as an undocumented student, and I did not have the resources to start my college experience. I was able to contact the Dream Resource Center at LASC. They guided me through my college experience, and they helped me obtain a fellowship and scholarships that allowed me to continue my education. After I got my permanent residency, I was able to join the TRiO STEM program. There, I was guided by the counselor Dr. Angelita Salas in my journey toward transferring. Thanks to their support, I am now able to transfer to my dream school.

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? My biggest supporters at LASC were my counselors from the Dream Resource Center and the TRiO STEM program. My biggest supporters in my personal life were my family and my friends.

What's next for you? I will be transferring to UCLA this fall.

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Luz Aleman

Degrees you earned at LASC: Art, Art History, Social and Behavioral Sciences as well as Liberal Studies (Teacher Prep)

Tell us about your journey to graduation: This spring, I am graduating from Middle College High School and LASC at the same time. I had to take both college and high school classes. At first, it was difficult managing all these classes and making time for each. Throughout the semesters, I have learned how to organize my time, which was difficult because I am still a teenager. Then the pandemic occurred and my motivation dropped. My home began to get chaotic and I couldn't focus on my assignments. For weeks, I couldn't focus on my classes. I decided to give tutoring at LASC a try and it helped me regain my motivation. The college community offered many opportunities to help students during the pandemic. I learned new ways on how to study and the advantages of tutoring.

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? I am so thankful for my art professor, Lauren Evans. I couldn't have picked a better art professor. In her courses, she introduces us to many talented artist that express themselves in unique ways. It inspires us to get out of our comfort zone and try new things when it comes to creating artwork. My professor has helped me explore what form of art I am the most passionate about. With her help, I discovered my love for architecture, but I want to continue to study art. Also, a huge shout out to my sister who has always been my biggest supporter. My sister has always encouraged me to never give up. She is always proud of even the smallest goals I accomplish. I appreciate all the advice and study tips she gives me.

What's next for you? I plan to continue studying art and architecture.

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Mariely Velazquez

Degree you earned at LASC: Liberal Studies (Teacher Prep), Business Administration, Management/Supervision, as well as Business Administration: Accounting

Tell us about your journey to graduation: I am a full-time employee and mother of three, two of which have already graduated from college, and our little one is eight.  This journey has been a personal goal of mine to continue my education and ultimately receive my MBA. It has taken me a very long time to get this far navigating my corporate career as well as motherhood and maintaining a household. There were many times where I missed family functions in order to study or took my books with me to work and personal travel in order to finish my papers. I could only attend part-time but I always stayed in a forward motion.

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? My biggest supporters are, and have always been, my husband and children. Without them encouraging me, supporting me, and helping me around the house, I don't think it would have been possible. They make me want to be a better person, and although I am doing this for me, a big part is for them. Anything is possible if you put your mind to it. It's not about how long it takes you, but the journey there. We only get this one life, fill it and yourself with knowledge constantly.  

What's next for you? I will be transferring to Cal State Long Beach, where I will be working on my bachelor's degree in Business Administration

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Martin Orozco

Degrees you earned at LASC: Social and Behavioral Sciences as well as Liberal Studies (Teacher Prep)

Tell us about your journey to graduation: I am glad to say my journey to graduation has been short but not easy. I started at LASC last year. I had dropped out and was down that I had to start off again ... I am graduating from LASC with two associates degree and a certificate for free. Many people shame and put others down for attending a community college but I really hopes this stops. I wish high schools advocated for community college so much more. #CommunityCollegeReallyIsAnOption

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? My biggest supporter at LASC is Dr. Erika Miller from TRIO. "I am so proud of you" are words that kept me going after every session we had.

What's next for you? Transferring to Cal State University, Los Angeles, to study sociology and pursue my teaching credentials.

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Michelle Booker

Degree you earned at LASC: Liberal Arts: Natural Sciences as well as Liberal Studies (Teacher Prep)

Tell us about your journey to graduation: My journey to graduation hasn't been easy, especially with being a full-time mom. The pandemic made things especially harder, but I was able to persevere. There were days I really wanted to give up but I didn't. The biggest struggle I had to overcome was honestly not believing in myself.

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? My biggest supporters have been my family. In a sense, they are graduating too, because I couldn't have done any of this without them. My son has been my motivation to keep going and get to the finish line. My husband has been my constant reminder that I can do this, even when I didn't think I can. My ASO family has been so supportive, especially Dr. Lance Robert and Mr. Juane Camacho. Also I want to personally thank Dr. Maisha Jones. She helped me see that even with the struggles of life I can obtain a degree and not be another statistic.

What's next for you? I've decided to take a well-needed break, and then I will be attending Western University of Health Sciences in spring 2022 for their pharmacy program.

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Mohamad Moumne

Degree you earned at LASC: Liberal Arts: Natural Sciences as well as Liberal Studies (Teacher Prep)

Tell us about your journey to graduation? After 20 years of taking classes at a prolonged rate, I am married with a family of six now. I'm getting closer to my goal of being a nurse. 

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? CalWORKs team did an excellent job. Shout out to Blanca Barajas and Juan Camacho. Love the whole team of course.

What's next for you? I want to transfer

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Essie Blackmon

Degree you earned at LASC: Psychology

Tell us about your journey to graduation: I am the oldest of four children and I am the first to graduate in my family. It's always been hard facing adversity and living in a high-crime, high-poverty community. But, despite the adversity, I have overcome every barrier that's been my way. While going to college, I had a battle with my mental health, financial issues - I couldn't even go to school and work - and learning issues as well.

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? My biggest supporters were my mom and Auntie Bobbie, who helped me through the restless nights of studying and trying to succeed. At Southwest, people who were my biggest supporters were Ms. Brandy Robinson, Ms. Gabriel Corona, Mr. Matthew Williams, Promise office, EOPS office, and all of the amazing people in the Child Development Department. 

What's next for you? I'll be transferring to Cal State Fullerton, starting in the fall.

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Selena Lopez

Degrees you earned at LASC: Social and Behavioral Sciences, Liberal Studies (Teacher Prep), as well as Communication Studies

Tell us about your journey to graduation? I enrolled in school in the drug program and I was able to regain custody of my son while attending Southwest. Never was my journey easy, but I had the support and encouragement I needed to overcome all obstacles thrown at me. I now have my son and had a new child and got married all while I'm going to school. I am grateful for Southwest for giving me an opportunity and a safe space to help me grow as a person and as a mother. Southwest will forever be my home.

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? CalWORKs and Nextup program were my foundation.

What's next for you? I will be transferring to Cal State Long Beach

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Sheridan Brown

Degree you earned at LASC: Social and Behavioral Sciences, Liberal Arts-Child Development, Liberal Studies (Teacher Prep), as well as Early Childhood Education

Tell us about your journey to graduation: I have had a long but fulfilling journey to graduation. I have had the best teachers in Child Development and they helped me become the teacher I am today. I am very grateful for my experience and making it through. I felt defeated when I had to leave a University but coming to LASC was the best thing I could have done. I always reminded myself that it’s not about how you get there but that you did it.

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? My biggest supporters were my family. My mom has been by my side and has always believed in me. I had so much fun taking classes with her and I'm happy to graduate with her. She pushed and stood by my side and I love her so much. Thank you to my fiancé for also standing by my side and taking classes with me also. He kept me motivated until the end. So grateful to graduate with him also. I love them both.

What's next for you? My plans are to take a small break and then transfer to get my Bachelor's of Arts Degree in Child Development. In the meantime, I will be dipping strawberry and making sweets! Check me out @sherrysberriesandtreats on Instagram for the best goodies!

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Wylan  Harper

Degree you earned at LASC: Management/Supervision

Tell us about your journey to graduation: With all the on-going changes since COVID-19, it's been a little unique of a situation, yet, I tried to remain focused and complete courses successfully. Although instruction and other regular proceedings were altered the last year, school has been a learning experience and I'm now confideint and look forward to pursuing my studies and goals.

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? Most importantly, my family has backed my journey at LASC, and it's helped me stay motivated and inspired to go all the way. On campus, some of my big supporters were a team of the awesome professors and counseling staff.

What's next for you? I will futher my studies at Los Angeles Film School and focus on launching my new manufactoring company, Seven Sense Productions L.L.C.

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Vanessa Ferreira

Degree you earned at LASC: Child Development, Early Childhood Education and Social and Behavioral Sciences

Tell us about your journey to graduation? When I first enrolled in 2018, I was going through some hard financial difficulties and I was working as a full-time preschool teacher and raising five children on my own. I had my father discouraging me in not to go to school, that my focus were on my children and nothing else. My family did not believe I could make it this far.This was definitely the biggest obstacle I had to face in not getting the support from my family.

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? My biggest supporters were my children and my boyfriend who is now my husband. They were my motivation and my encouragement that kept me pushing toward this journey to graduation. During times that I felt like giving up, they were their to lift me up. Ms. Kimberly McBride was there for me from the first moment I enrolled until the end. She guided me and told me what's best for me. She encouraged me in not to give up. Thanks to Ms. McBride and my family I was able to accomplish what I first started.

What's next for you? I plan on transferring in Spring 2022 to Cal State Los Angeles

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Keiry Martel

Degree you earned at LASC: Administration Of Justice

Tell us about your journey to graduation? It's been very hard for me. I'm a single mother to three kids, who is working, and trying to stay on top of school. There were times I wanted to just give up, but I found the strength to continue and finish what I started.

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? My biggest supporters were my LASC counselors -- Dr. Tandy Ward, Juan Camacho, Blanca Barajas -- and of course my parents and my kids. Without their support, I'm not sure I would've finished. 

What's next for you? I plan on transferring to Cal State Long Beach

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Hermes Adela Greenaway

Degree you earned at LASC: Administration Of Justice

Tell us about your journey to graduation? During the pandemic, I had to take care of my husband that became a little sick. I was under a little stress for me to concentrate on my assignments, but it was possible.

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? My husband has been my leading support. He always tells me: 'You can do it, darling. I'm betting on you!' He is my support and my everything. My whole family that is in Panama has always motivated me not to give up and move on, especially in this last year that has been very difficult for everyone. My support in LASC was my instructors and co-workers in the great team in the NACES department. They guided me and encouraged me to achieve my goals. Dream Resource Center Adjunct Counselor team was part of my success. They were always willing to guide me and assist me any time I needed. The EOPS counselor team guided me and encouraged me to go beyond my expectations was part of my success as well.

What's next for you? I plan on transferring to Cal State Dominuez Hills

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Dianne Wilkerson

Degree you earned at LASC: Natural Sciences

Tell us about your journey to graduation? I came a long way from wanting to be a nurse when I was young. I came from being a foster child to being a mother of three, to living with my real mom within the process of going to school, and also overcoming COVID-19 restrictions and doing online schooling.

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? God, my family, and each teacher are always giving me encouragement.

What's next for you? I plan on transferring to Trade-Tech's nursing program.

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Esperanza Rojos

Degree you earned at LASC: Liberal Arts: Natural Sciences and Liberal Arts: Liberal Studies

Tell us about your journey to graduation? In this journey towards graduation, I had my fair share of success as well as obstacles. I am a proud Latina and the first in my family to attend college. Growing up as the oldest you usually are the role model. I grew up like most with difficulties and in a low-income family. Attending public school, I put in a lot of hard work and effort to be able to reach my goals. Valuing my education is something that became a big part of my journey. A reason for me to continue and value any opportunity I had because sometime it is not given to everyone. The importance of hard work, effort, compassion, persistence and the goal of achieving my dreams was my motivation. In my educational journey, there have been many great successes and there were also some situations where I had to try harder and put in more work to understand and receive a better grade on my work. Many times it took time, dedication, study groups, additional reviewing of curriculum, late nights and studying more to learn a particular material. We all face obstacles or even have failures but I believe that through perseverance and dedication it's only thoughts that can make us stop. I found myself searching for my own personal strengths; my creative thinking, task prioritization, discipline, determination, and over all working well with others to create networks. I have been pleased with dedicating many hours to my education because it has constantly improved myself. Something that I need to improve is setting healthy boundaries as I tend to say yes to everything. In community college, I learned to recognize my priorities and acknowledge that there will be times when I have to say no.

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? Some of my biggest supporters from LASC were my professors and the people cheering us on when being on the Deans' List or President's List.

What's next for you?  I am a student who is currently transferring I am transferring to CSU Dominguez Hills and pursuing a major in Health Science: Community Health. My future goals include pursuing a career in the field of prosthetics and assisting patients in their journey of recovery and healing. I desire to further my learning that will eventually prepare me to grow into my career and real-world experiences. In my career, I hope to design a prosthetic that fits or monitor the prosthesis wear while also caring for patients' social emotional health. I plan to first complete my bachelor’s degree in Community Health and then pursue a master’s degree in prosthetics and orthotics in a near future.

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Amelia Yamileth Nunez

Degree you earned at LASC: Social and Behavioral Sciences, Liberal Arts: Natural Sciences, and Liberal Studies (Teacher Prep)

Tell us about your journey to graduation? To reach graduation, I had to be persistent and not give up when it got hard. Also, an obstacle that I had to surpass was having to balance work, with being a single mother and my full-time classes.

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? Some of my biggest supporters from LASC were my professors and the people cheering us on when being on the Deans' List or President's List.

What's next for you? My plans are to continue pursuing my education to receive my major in Criminal Justice at Cal State Dominguez Hills.

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Lavonta Wells

Degree you earned at LASC: Liberal Studies (Teacher Prep), Administration of Justice, as well as Social and Behavioral Sciences

Tell us about your journey to graduation? I am a former foster youth and a teen parent. My oldest son has severe Autism and requires substantial care on a daily basis. With a lot to take care of everyday, I still found time to meet my educational goal.

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? My biggest supporters at LASC are the NextUp and Guardian Scholars program. In my personal life, my biggest supporters are my kids and my husband,

What's next for you? I will transfer to Cal State Dominguez Hills to continue my studies in Public Administration.

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Bria Ratchford

Degree you earned at LASC: Psychologywells

Tell us about your journey to graduation? This has been a long and hard journey, while being at Santa Monica College, I had the opportunity to participate in research cohorts and mentored by alumni from various universities, but in those experiences, I have realized the lack of connection being at SMC. After my great grandmother gained her wings in 2016, I lost my childhood home that my grandmother grew old in, and I grew up in. Since her passing, I made it my mission to continue my education because I know inevitably, she is still cheering me on up there just as she was here. Without my grandmother pouring love, support, and positivity in me, I am not sure how I could always believe there was something always better at the end of every storm. Being a full-time student at LASC, a homeless mother with twins, and an After-School Program Instructor, it created deep sadness and depression for me to not have a place for my beautiful babies to call home. I did my best to continue to do what I had to do, so I could get my foot in the door with anything. It was a struggle being homeless for the past three years, maintaining to be happy at school and work without others knowing my situation. Many professors and staff at LASC and strangers also helped me along my journey with pure kindness and the willingness to help. Many of my LASC staff and professors knew me from my smile; my style of notetaking, which consisted of many colors of pens and highlighters my twins; or even being the first in class and, yes, before the professors themselves. I guess you can say I did my best to make whatever I had left to create good memories despite my storm. I really appreciate all of those who have helped me!

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? I believe everyone has been disappointed since we are unable to also see and speak to those who have helped all LASC students! In that, I want to Thank Everyone at LASC! Professor Lance Robert, whom on every first day of class in every class he shared vital knowledge of Ms. Odessa Cox, whom is the Black Founder of Los Angeles Southwest College. Although the library is dedicated to Ms. Cox, I feel her legacy should be discussed in every class on campus at Southwest College. The fact that she fought so hard and so long for that land that is now the one and only LASC! Mr. Juan Camacho from the GAIN office, I want to say thank you for all of the times you have assisted me with my educational plan and my books that were essential for me to have within the first week of class. You were also there every step of the way when it was time to apply to transfer. I really appreciate it. Mr. Ernesto Rodriguez from Financial Aid. I was getting no help from emails, constantly going back forth from the financial aid office to the business office just feeling like I was getting nowhere. All of my classes were dropped, and my account was on hold and I didn’t know why! LASC was hosting a fair where students could speak to counselors, staff, and meet clubs! I thought that was the perfect time to speak to someone in financial aid who could tell me what was going on. Of course, nothing could be done because the fair was outside. So, he said be there tomorrow at 8 a.m. Me and my babies were here on campus at 7:30 a.m., I was greeted by the Vice President of LASC not knowing the campus was actually closed for the day! I was in shock and thought that maybe Ernesto made a mistake … nope! He was there and surprised I was actually there on time. Thank you to the vice president of LASC and Ernesto from financial aid. Mr. Ronald Haynes from the GAINS office. Thank you for assisting me with my educational plans when I was unsure if I would be able to continue my higher education and providing resources to outreach centers! Professor Leonard Apenahier, I would like to thank for his persistence, challenging classes, and the importance of networking being a psychologist. 

What's next for you? This next chapter in my life, I aim to continue pursing my dreams, goals, wants, and aspirations. I am a first-generation graduate in my family! In that, I am officially a Toro continuing my higher education at Cal State Dominguez Hills, majoring in Psychology and minoring in Africana Studies. Diversity, inclusion, and ethnical studies are my main reasons why CSUDH resonates with my personality, aspirations, and goals. Not only is my education incredibly important to me, but also being a mother and more to my beautiful growing family.

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Kelvin Warren

Degree you earned at LASC: Social and Behavioral Sciences and Psychology

Tell us about your journey to graduation? I lost a lot in 2019 and then 2020 hit. With everything that was happening, I still had to stay focused on my education and my family.

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? I took a piece of every Professor I've ever had at LASC. They were always encouraging and available to help in anyway. My daughters and my church family kept me motivated as well.

What's next for you? I will transfer to Cal State Dominguez Hills to pursue my Bachelor's Degree in Psychology.

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Roxana Siguenza

Degree you earned at LASC: Liberal Studies (Teacher Prep), Business Administration, and Business Administration: Accounting

Tell us about your journey to graduation? My journey to graduation was really amazing even though I faced many obstacles as well. There were moments I wanted to give up, especially during this time of pandemic that forced us to be socially distant and have a virtual life. However, my strong desire to achieve my goals and the support of my family kept me going. I feel very happy and proud of myself for graduating from Los Angeles Southwest College. Everything is possible with effort and determination.

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? My biggest supporters at LASC and in my personal life were my family, professors, and classmates. They all have played an important role in my academic journey. I have had a positive experience with every person I have encountered along my way. I really appreciate their support and kindness.

What's next for you? I will continue with my studies at Cal State Dominguez Hills

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Kevin Martinez

Degree you earned at LASC: Social and Behavioral Sciences, Liberal Studies (Teacher Prep), Business Administration: Accounting, and Business Administration

Tell us about your journey to graduation? My graduation journey began after thirteen (13) years of deportation. In December of 2004 I was deported to my birthplace of Belize. Prior to deportation, I hardly knew Belize other than from a few visits and listening to conversations that my parents had with relatives and friends. I was granted a pardon and went through the immigration process and was allowed to return on Thanksgiving day of 2017. It was fitting that I returned on that day because ever since my return I have many things to be thankful for. I walked onto the Los Angeles Southwest campus and inquired about taking classes. I wasn't sure how successful I would be, however, after my very first conversation with Mrs. Tucker in the Veterans Resource Center, she spoke confidence into my journey. I can't thank her and her staff enough for the wonderful support that they provided to me.

Who were your biggest supporters at LASC and in your personal life? The biggest supporters that I have had at LASC is Mrs. Yvette Tucker and her staff at the Veterans Resource Center. They have made my transition into and out of LASC so easy. I can't thank them enough for all that they have done for me. On a personal level, my wife, my parents and my sister's have all played a strong supporting role in my journey. They have always been there for encouragement and anything needed to ensure that I succeed.

What's next for you? Yes, I will be transferring to Cal State Dominguez Hills where I will be pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration.

* Editor's note: Some responses were edited for consistency.