Photo of Carlo Lopez with a big smile on his face, sitting at a laptop in the SCC Makerspace

Think Big and Go to College

Life isn’t easy for Carlo Lopez. Like many community college students, his family struggles, and money, housing and food are mostly a daily focus. Determined, Carlo fends for himself by relying on hope, ambition and services available, especially the STEM Equity & Success Initiative (SESI).

SESI is a comprehensive, multifaceted program intended to increase the participation and success rates of Hispanic and low-income students in STEM fields and careers. With SESI’s help, Carlo now knows the joy of academic achievement and wants people who are growing up in similar circumstances to know that joy too. His wish is for kids like him to hear what he heard at SCC: the sweet sound of a voice that says, I have your back.

Even when Carlo was just in middle school, he knew he could rely only on himself for a decent life. Nobody was around to expose him to life’s possibilities, so he took it upon himself to discover a world he knew little about. He applied for a library pass and researched jobs that require technology skills. He was looking for an alternative to a life of limited choices.

That library pass opened a world of possibilities. Carlo taught himself to code by poring over free tutorials. His accomplishment had moved him to accept SESI’s help and pursue a college education at SCC despite his life’s brutal reality and an average GPA.

Now, Carlo is a full time student, studying computer science, and looking forward to earning a degree and transferring. He plans on a career of helping people, beginning with those who think college is not for them.

It can be done, Carlo tells those students. There is a way financially, and there is help academically. Follow your dream, think big and go to college.