Marco Gomez wanted to be more active on the Los Medanos College campus. He figured since he spent so much time in classes he might as well get involved in campus life. As a student ambassador, the 21-year-old Antioch resident worked closely with the Los Medanos College counseling team and they informed the budding psychologist that he was one class away from qualifying to graduate with an Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT) in psychology.
“I wasn’t going to get an associate degree originally and had planned on just transferring, but I was told I needed one extra class – Introduction to Research Study – and I could graduate with the new ADT. So I took it and I was so excited to graduate. I felt more accomplished.”
Gomez graduated in May 2013 and now is headed to San Francisco State in the fall with a pathway to a bachelor’s degree in psychology laid out in front of him. As long as he stays on that pathway he’ll graduate in two years with the required 60 units and holding two degrees.
The California Community Colleges and the California State University system have a new program that simplifies the transfer process for community college students wanting to continue their education at a CSU. Community college students who complete an associate degree designated for transfer are guaranteed admission to the CSU system with junior status and will be given priority consideration when applying to a California State University campus and to a particular program that is designated as similar to the student’s community college major.
Gomez said he hopes to use his psychology education to help troubled youth and young adults. He said it was an internship with his county supervisor that gave him his educational direction.
“I wanted to be a neurosurgeon but I did an internship with my (Contra Costa County) Supervisor Federal Glover who gave me a choice of where I wanted to work,” Gomez said. “I chose the probation department and they put me in the juvenile hall. Behavior has always fascinated me and I knew I wanted to help these kids.”
Helping others has become second nature for Gomez. While at Los Medanos College he tutored other students, mostly those for whom English is a second language, Gomez said. As their writing progressed and the grade point averages rose, so too did his sense of accomplishment. It’s that same feeling he hopes to bring to incarcerated young people.
“If I could talk with an incoming freshman at LMC I’d tell them to find out what they want to do and then focus on how to get there,” Gomez said. “Getting into the ADT program is a great way to do that. I’d also tell them not to get discouraged. Stick with it because the feeling (after graduating) is so rewarding.”