Santa Ana College Foundation Month Year
A History of Success, A Future of Promise

Dr. Julio Caceres

In his native Colombia, Dr. Julio Caceres was regarded as a prominent dentist and a union leader. As president of the state chapter of his national union, he became embroiled in challenges to the social security system. He was also on the union’s national leadership committee. Several harrowing events in an increasingly violent situation made it clear that his life was in danger. A hasty departure was necessary.

Dr. Caceres and his family landed in the United States in the year 2000 with minimal resources and no English skills. They literally started from ground zero. Counselor Martha Vargas at an Adult Center in Orange provided the first link to what would become an American odyssey for the Caceres family.

Maria referred Dr. Caceres to the English as a Second Language program at Santa Ana College. “Santa Ana College gave me the tools to reach my goal of certification much faster than I ever anticipated,” Dr. Caceres explains. He worked as a valet parker during the days so that he could attend classes four evenings a week. His instructors worked hard, he observes, particularly with helping the students to develop writing skills. He remembers many essay assignments, as well as practical applications of the English language.

Dr. Caceres had to pass four examinations in order to get his license to practice dentistry in California, a milestone he achieved by June 2002—an amazingly fast accomplishment. After working for several dental franchises, he opened his own practice in Santa Ana in 2006. It is flourishing, in part because he continues to stay abreast of the latest developments in dentistry through continuing education seminars. “Southern California is such a beautiful place, where knowledge is created,” he enthuses. “We are in the first line to be current on best practices in our profession.”

He also turns to professional associations to improve his knowledge. He is an active member of the California Dental Association, the American Dental Association and the Orange County Dental Society.

Fine art and sculpting draw his attention when he is not at the office; he is a gifted painter. Family is a priority, with a wife and two teenagers, aged 14 and 17, learning their way in their new country. He also manages to kick a soccer ball around in several different leagues.

In August 2008 Dr. Caceres will mark 20 years since he earned his original dental degree in Colombia. It is thanks to the ESL program at Santa Ana College that he was able to become licensed in the United States so quickly. “I am really grateful to Santa Ana College for the great things it does,” he says. “This college works so hard to help our community grow and people prosper.”

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Dr. Julio Caceres

In his native Colombia, Dr. Julio Caceres was regarded as a prominent dentist and a union leader. As president of the state chapter of his national union, he became embroiled in challenges to the social security system. He was also on the union’s national leadership committee. Several harrowing events in an increasingly violent situation made it clear that his life was in danger. A hasty departure was necessary.

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