Student Experience at College of San Mateo
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Student Experience
Alex Quintana
Alex Quintana College of San Mateo, A.A.
UC Santa Cruz, Philosophy

Alex Quintana arrived in the United States from his native Peru when he was nine years old. Upon graduation from Hillsdale High School, Alex was eligible to attend a university, but for economic reasons, decided to enroll at CSM and followed a transfer path to a university.

At CSM, he hit the ground running. Alex was a full time student, worked 25 hours a week in a local bakery to support his education and he quickly was immersed in college life.

Alex became an integral part of student government where he was able to bridge his passion and dedication to issues of social justice with the desire to stand up for the students he represented. He honed his leadership skills, serving as senator, finance director and vice president of the Associated Students and president of the Latinos Unidos Club. Through his hard work, he was one of the first students to raise political issues regarding underrepresented AB-540 students. Alex worked to increase the awareness of the Latino culture on campus through a variety of student-sponsored events. For his service to CSM, Alex received a number of scholarships and awards including the prestigious Allan R. Brown Student Service Award.

As a student representative on several college committees Alex proved to be an articulate and effective voice of the students. When CSM celebrated the grand opening of its flagship building, College Center, Alex was selected as the student speaker for the event.  “Through leadership activities, CSM has helped me develop my principles and values, and advocate for the rights of the lost voices of underrepresented students,” says Alex.

As a student in the EOPS program, Alex had access to support services to ensure his success in college.  Members of the EOPS staff, especially Sylvia Aguirre and Lorena del Mundo, were supportive and provided guidance in recommending classes and resources that helped Alex work toward his educational goals. Through EOPS, Alex was inspired to assume an active role as a student of color and became a part of the “movimeiento” (movement) stand up for the rights of students of color and challenging injustice. “The program’s extended window of opportunities and friendly “corazon” (heart) provided me with a supportive family at CSM.”

Student Activities Assistant Fauzi Hamadeh describes Alex as “a true success story.”  “When Alex joined student government, he was quiet and reserved. As he grew into a leader and discovered his own potential, Alex became an outspoken voice for students. He has worked extensively on behalf of CSM’s students, especially those who face challenges that would prevent them from succeeding in college. Working with faculty, staff, administrators, and other students, Alex has tackled the tough issues facing our students and our college. He has earned the respect of his peers and the campus community for his leadership, his integrity, and his dedication” says Hamadeh.

During the time he spent at CSM, Alex had the opportunity to “sample” various subjects as possible majors. While he originally planned to study law, he found inspiration in his philosophy professor, Dave Danielson, and the subject matter. “Philosophy opened up my eyes to a new understanding of the past and present, and possibilities for the future.”  In fall 2011, Alex transferred to UC Santa Cruz as a philosophy major with the goal of teaching at the college level.