Jayleena Perez, a member of the Dons Softball Team, cherishes the opportunity to follow her childhood dreams of playing collegiate softball.
“Santa Ana College really cares about their student-athletes from Football to Track and Field. From day one, we felt so welcomed and supported. Our athletic trainers are super involved. They care so much about us, on the field and court, and off," Perez shares. After winning Conference, Regionals, Super Regionals, and the State Championship with the Dons in her first year, Perez and her teammates have made history at SAC.
By choosing to pursue her education at SAC and working with our supportive athletic staff, trainers, and counselors, Perez can obtain a Kinesiology degree at her own pace while playing the sport she loves.
Aaron Kelly originally received an engineering degree but wasn't completely passionate about his field. Now enrolled in
SAC's Fire Technology Program, the largest and oldest Fire Technology program in California, he has the opportunity to chase his childhood dreams of becoming a firefighter and learn from knowledgeable educators certified by the Orange County Fire Chiefs Association.
The Fire Academy is a 16-week program that provides aspiring firefighters with hands-on experience, tools and techniques to protect life, property and the environment. “What makes Santa Ana College standout are the instructors. They're truly here for our success and know exactly what is expected from our local fire departments. We are lucky that most of our instructors are active firefighters, engineers, captains and chiefs, or at the top of their profession," Kelly explains.
After graduating from SAC's premier Fire Academy, Kelly hopes to have a long, healthy career in the Fire Service and later come back to be a Fire Academy instructor at SAC.
Kajleb Demaniow's journey at SAC started when he moved to California from the Midwest to pursue a career in film and entertainment at age 21. He originally was a part of SAC's Fine and Performing Arts program, and later joined the SAC Student News team where he served as an anchor, reporter, and editor, reporting on local news and sharing authentic stories in the community.
After learning new skills such as editing, audio and production, Kelly shares, “ What a privilege it is to educate yourself. I never thought I'd be back in school studying something I'm passionate about. I encourage others to push through their fears and go after your heart's desires, especially being supported by a great school like Santa Ana College."
With the availability of many different educational and career paths at SAC, Demaniow has found success throughout his career trajectory with the support of SAC's dedicated faculty and staff
Kaya Sparnicht is a sophomore in high school, studying acting at SAC through the Dual Enrollment Program, which provides high school students the opportunity to earn transferable college credits in a variety of subjects for free.
Sparnicht appreciates the opportunity for an early start to college and is excited about the skills she's already learned, such as improv, ensemble work and Fitzmaurice voicework from faculty who have real-life experiences in their industries.
Reflecting on her experience as a dual enrollment student, Sparnicht shares, “I have felt welcomed and included, and I'm treated just like any other full-time college student. While attending SAC, faculty is always helping me prepare for my future, even as a sophomore in high school. Because of the dual-enrollment program at SAC I feel ready and excited to continue my college experience."
Giancarlo Ahumada transferred from a local private university to SAC to join the Business Administration Program, which changed his perspective on owning a business.
“Moving from a private university to a community college has been one of my best decisions," Ahumada explains. “I thought business was about making money and being your own boss. However, my courses taught me that starting a business takes a lot of planning, creativity, commitment and patience. If you're looking to become an entrepreneur, a CEO, a sole proprietor, or maybe even one day have your own franchise, Santa Ana College has all the resources you need to get there."
Despite being a transfer student, Ahumada was able to adjust and earn back his credits with support from helpful counselors in the Business Administration Department. He fully credits SAC as the starting point of his journey toward building a personalized retail fashion company and business empire for himself and his family, and inspiring fellow entrepreneurs while doing so.
Stephanie Ortega is making strides toward her Bachelor's Degree in Occupational Studies at SAC–all at the economical cost of a community college program. She recently graduated from SAC's Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) program, and now works as a full-time practitioner while furthering her educational goals.
Ortega is grateful to be a part of SAC's Occupational Studies program, designed to be flexible for working students. “The way this program is designed allows us to gain real-life experience from being hands-on in the classroom and apply the skills out to our fieldwork sites.
We even have counselors dedicated to us to help us design our educational program and assist us with any questions about the program, financial aid, and guide us in the right direction," Ortega states.
Through the OTA program, Ortega has fulfilled her passion to serve others and help her patients gain back their independence. She enjoys the flexibility to work while advancing her skills and highly recommends SAC's program to those seeking a career in Occupational Therapy.
Oswaldo Diaz is embracing the power of lifelong learning after returning to SAC to pursue new skills in audio, video, and production to start his own business in the digital media industry.
Transitioning from a salaried employee to a business owner, Diaz is re-inventing his professional career. He shares, “Continuing education is essential to keep up with job market changes. Whether through online courses, certification programs or degrees, SAC provides professionals with the ability to stay current and competitive in their field."
Diaz credits SAC for providing him with the new skills to launch his next chapter of his career and opening new doors and opportunities to be successful in a new industry and profession.
Originally from Aguadilla, Puerto Rico,
Johnny Whitehead moved to California in 2018, following his dreams of working in film and movies. At SAC’s School of Continuing Education, he has gained valuable skills that have helped him develop into the community leader he is today.
School of Continuing Education (SCE), all classes are free and provide ample resources for students including citizenship classes, learning English, career education, obtaining GED or high school diploma, and more. At SCE, Whitehead is also a leader for the Associated Student Government Program which provides students the leadership opportunities and skills to get involved on campus and in the community through organizing student events and volunteering in the community. “These experiences give me and other ESL students opportunities to practice English outside of the classroom," Whitehead reflects.
Without a doubt, attending SAC's School of Continuing Education has given Whitehead a positive outlook on life. He shares, “I'm very grateful to be part of this community. And you know what the best part is? Most of the classes are free and knowledge is priceless."
Morgan Nguyen is a proud online honors student at SAC, on track to graduate and transfer to a four-year university. SAC's Honors Program has 36 transfer agreements with four-year universities that offer priority consideration for admission and even guaranteed acceptance to a few universities depending on your GPA and major.
As an Honors Program student, benefits include working closely with the Honors Transfer Program faculty, experiencing smaller class sizes, and participating in special projects and activities. Nguyen also holds leadership roles for SAC's Honor Societies, California Community College Honor Society and Phi Theta Kappa. “Younger me would've never thought that I'd be able to balance my academics, work, and extracurriculars, but here I am," shares Nguyen.
Nguyen has utilized a multitude of resources available to SAC's online and on-campus students, such as the access to virtual appointments or drop-ins with counselors at the Thrive Center and the Career Center. “Going from high school to college honor classes is a transition. With the Wellness Center, I was able to get support and focus on my mental health.
I'm so thankful for Santa Ana College because they made college attainable for me," Nguyen expresses.
Natalie Lincoln is a pre-nursing program student at SAC and a proud single mother of six. Upon the premature birth of her first son, she knew she wanted to be a healthcare professional and pay it forward to help moms like herself.
“With the help of SAC Student Resources, I'm able to juggle raising my kids, working, and a full class schedule. Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS) and CalWORKS give students more opportunities without the stress of additional expenses. These services helped me come back to school by paying for my books, my laptop, and my classes," Lincoln explains. Other services at Student Resources include tutoring services, early priority registration, free childcare, Diaper Bank at the Thrive Center, and a food bank and snack pantry.
Lincoln expressed her utmost gratitude for SAC's overarching support to help students with dependents. SAC honors the different life experiences of many students to foster student success and positively impact their lives. “I am so glad I was able to come back to school to pursue my passion and receive the support I needed as a single mom of six.
Through SAC, I can confidently continue my education to become a nurse practitioner and a midwife," she states.