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Martin Vargas-Vega

Charlotte Achen

Born and raised in Watsonville, the 2014-15 Associated Students of Cabrillo College (ASCC) President, Martin Vargas-Vega, graduated from Pajaro Valley High School.

He began attending Cabrillo College in 2010, primarily due to the recession. As the oldest of three children, when his family lost their home, instead of going on to a four-year university, he stayed locally to help his family, and to work while going to college.

Vargas-Vega's parents work in the raspberry fields in Watsonville. Throughout his middle school and high school years, Vargas-Vega worked alongside his parents, picking raspberries. He said that what motivated him to attend college was talking with the other field workers. "They asked me if I wanted to do this the rest of my life?" And I thought no."

Still working in the fields full time while attending Cabrillo College, Vargas-Vega had to take Basic Skills classes before he could get to transfer level courses.

In addition to taking a full load of transfer-level courses, for the past two years Vargas-Vega has been working with a program through UC Santa Cruz Called GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs). The program follows cohorts of students from 6th and 7th grades through their senior year of high school. Vargas-Vega is currently working with two 8th grade cohorts in Watsonville – in his role, he advises the students in his cohort about going to college, what college options are available, financial aid, he even accompanies his cohorts on college tours – to community colleges, CSUs, UCs and private, 4-year universities. "We want these students to go somewhere – to succeed," said Vargas-Vega.

"You need to be able to know how to motivate a student - that's in part why they hired me – I am the kind of student they want to reach out to."

For fall semester, Vargas-Vega is enrolled in 15 units, and hopes to add an online class, in hopes of graduating at the end of this year or early next year. His major is Bilingual/Bicultural studies.

When asked how he arrived at that major, he said "My parents' don't speak English but put their kids in bilingual education school. Their co-workers in the fields thought I should learn English only. But it's been helpful, because now I can speak and write both English and Spanish. I can go back to the fields and help field workers with things like a bank account, or health insurance – things that my parents needed."

Vargas-Vega began his involvement in Student Activities in the Organization of Latin Americans (OLA), and served as the OLA President for two years. Fellow student Senators reached out to him and encouraged him to join ASCC.

Vargas-Vega said, "When I came to Cabrillo, it was one of my dreams to become the Senate president. I saw the application on the SAC East desk and thought that would be great - but never thought I could do it. The encouragement from fellow Senators helped me run for ASCC President, and I won by twice the number of votes."

"Cabrillo College is one of the top community colleges in California and the preparation that school will give you will help you succeed at the next level, at the 4-year university. The students I've spoken with who've transferred to four-year universities said that the coursework was more challenging at Cabrillo. Many wanted to come back – they felt they got better instruction and support at Cabrillo College."

Vargas-Vega hopes to graduate at the end of this year. Upon graduation, he plans to transfer to a four-year university, and currently has his sights set on Stanford, UC Berkeley, UCLA or USC.

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Students Speak Out

What students say about Cabrillo College:


"Both the small class sizes and diverse student body have helped me decide that Cabrillo College is where I want to continue my education!"-Katie
Communication Studies


"The classes and teachers here at Cabrillo are very engaging and not afraid to tackle tough concepts!"-Santiago


"In addition to a wide range of green classes available, Cabrillo College has a variety of professors with vital real world experience."-Kyle


"I really enjoy the campus, particularly the Cabrillo Gallery. This makes it feel not just like a school, but also a nice place to spend your time."-Shawn


"Cabrillo College and the Honors Program have successfully helped prepare me for my Fall transfer to SF State. "-Casey


"Cabrillo is a great place to start. The flexibility of class schedules has allowed me to work while attending college."-Michael
Early Childhood Education


"I love the new photography lab and the various student services available here at Cabrillo!"-Rachel
Art Photography


"In addition to a great campus environment, Cabrillo College is home to an exceptional culinary program."-Anthony,
Culinary Arts & Hospitality Mngmnt


"The teachers at Cabrillo are very informed and can often help you with career opportunities in your field."-Charlotte


"I am impressed by Cabrillo College’s affordability and the learning resources available such as the Math Learning Center and the Writing Center."-Dustin


"I really enjoy the Visual and Performing Arts Department at Cabrillo."-Tori


"In addition to a wide range of green classes available, Cabrillo College has a variety of professors with vital real world experience."-Rory
Construction & Energy Management


"What I love about Cabrillo College is the central location and small class sizes!"-Milo

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