Santa Ana College Veteran Alumnus Hans Grant Accepted to 15 Universities for Transfer
High School Dropout to Data Science Student
Hans Grant, a high school dropout and Marine veteran, is now a first-generation college student who was accepted to 15 of the 20 schools he applied to for transfer, including nationally ranked universities like University of Southern California, University of California, Berkeley, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and University of Virginia. After years as a Marine, Grant, now 33, was unsure about pursuing higher education, but he knows his journey up to this point wouldn't have been possible without the support of fellow veterans at Santa Ana College.
“I think some of the coolest friends I've met were from the Veterans Resource Center, and they still keep in touch," Grant said. “Honestly, I probably got into Berkeley because of them."
Grant was attending Santa Ana College in pursuit of a core competencies certificate in fire service from the Fire Technology Department. While pursuing this and his Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC), he developed an interest in pursuing a degree in data science. After being accepted to several universities, he committed to University of California Berkeley and is now pursuing a bachelor's degree in data science with an emphasis in geospatial information and technology (GIS).
“I went with data science because it's kind of a newer degree that every department needs and can be implement into fire service," Grant said.
After dropping out of high school without telling his parents, he thought about heading straight into the military but around that time, the recession hit, so he felt the need to help with the family restaurant in Crescent City, Calif. In fact, Grant's restaurant experience started at a young age when he started washing dishes standing on a crate.
“[My parents] were mostly dealing with the restaurant, and I was basically a holy terror, and to quote my dad, no one would watch me," Grant said. “He couldn't pay a babysitter enough to watch me at that point. With a family that couldn't afford a dishwasher and a child that no one would watch, my dad made me a dishwasher early on."
Not until the restaurant started doing well after several years did he consider what he would do next. He started talking to people in fire services and was advised to join the military until a more optimal hiring period in fire services. That's when he finally got his GED and became a Marine.
“I think I got everything I needed — tons of discipline," Grant said. “It truly helped me in the long run … all the discipline, time management, organization, a lot of these soft skills you just don't get a chance to work on."
In addition to his bachelor's degree, Grant hopes to pursue a graduate degree in this field, enter paramedical school and consider a career in fire services or one that will utilize his expertise in GIS. He also hopes his parents can eventually sell the restaurant and have a real vacation.
“They earned it," Grant said. “It's kind of nice to be a part of your parents' success but at the same time, you kind of want them to be able to enjoy things — go on walks and not have to be called from the restaurant all the time … they're still young enough to actually be able to enjoy their retirement."
Veteran students at Santa Ana College can get connected with resources and more at the Veterans Resource Center.