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LMC alumnus Rubie Villela is working to become a doctor.

Editor’s note: “Where are they now?” is an ongoing series in which Experience journalists connect with former students to find out what they are doing now and how their educational journey at LMC has impacted their success.

Rubie Villela, a former student at Los Medanos College, has always strived for success, but life as a first-generation college student can be tough. With the help of her family and teachers, she found happiness in the medical field and hopes to become a doctor.

The road was not easy, but it gave impetus to his dream. Villela’s parents are from Honduras and made the decision to move to the United States for a better future for her and her two sisters. Growing up, Villela’s family didn’t make enough money to provide health care for her family, so Villela decided to do something about it. This is how his career in the medical field began.

Despite the difficulties faced by her parents, they always supported her upbringing. From an early age, her parents told her that she should not depend on anyone else and that she should find a career that would bring her happiness and provide her with stability.

Before Villela enrolled in the LMC, she applied to several colleges and was accepted to all but the one she most wanted to attend – UC Davis.

“I always had good grades in high school,” she said. “I just didn’t really know what to do to apply to colleges because I’m a first-generation student, so I didn’t know I should have done more extracurriculars — I didn’t even know how. apply for scholarships!”

Her dream school was UC Davis, so Villela decided to save her money and apply to a community college and transfer there. She attended LMC from 2013 to 2016 and discovered a love for biology in high school, choosing it as her major the moment she entered college.

Villela explained that she struggled to ask for help during her freshman year at LMC. Everything was new to her as she is a first generation student. But throughout her schooling at the LMC, she met various teachers and mentors who helped her achieve her goals. Professor Matt Stricker is one of them.

Villela met Stricker when she enrolled in her Calculus 3 class. He remembers her as a hard worker who got the highest grade in her class.

“She is one of the most dedicated students I have ever had and she has continued to excel in her studies since leaving the LMC,” Stricker said.

With the support of her LMC professors and mentors, Villela qualified for several scholarships and was awarded the Kennedy King Scholarship which helped her complete her studies with little debt.

It’s really important to me to help marginalized communities that don’t have access to health care, just like my parents didn’t.

—Rubie Villela

“My teachers connected me to a bunch of resources,” Villela said. “I applied for a bunch of scholarships and got into Davis and every other school I applied to in a full round.”

After leaving LMC, Villela went on to UC Davis and in 2018 graduated with a BS in Cell Biology. At 26, she is now a freshman in medicine at the Western Michigan Homer Stryker MD School of Medicine and beginning her preclinical years.

Along with the challenges of medical school, she also finds joy volunteering at a local homeless shelter in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Every Sunday, Villela visits local parks to provide food, hygiene products and health advice to people in need.

“It’s really important to me to help marginalized communities that don’t have access to healthcare, just like my parents didn’t,” Villela said.

Villela’s ultimate goal is to open her own clinic in her parents’ home country of Honduras. She would like to contribute medical resources to help communities without access to health care.

Villela credits LMC for providing her with a strong foundation and support system that gave her the confidence and means to succeed as a first generation student.

“I can’t thank LMC enough,” she said. “I’m so glad I went to community college.”

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