"As an undocumented student, I attended college during a time when I didn't know if
I was going to make it or not. If it wasn't for DACA, I don't think I would have completed
college," said Compton College alumni Miguel Quintero. "I enrolled at Compton College
during the beginnings of the California Dream Act."
Quintero is a native of Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico who immigrated to the United States in 2006 and began to learn English at the age of 13. He was a dedicated student at Centennial High School and graduated in 2010 as the salutatorian of his class. Raised by his single mother, financial hardship prevented Quintero from immediately applying to a university. During the next couple of years, he worked entry-level jobs to try to save money to fund his higher education.
Quintero enrolled at Compton College in 2012 after attending a workshop on campus that detailed pathways to learning for AB 540 students. He struggled to fund his college education the first year, but through family assistance and his savings, he made ends meet. In 2013, he received financial assistance as an AB 540 student, and extra support services for academic success through the Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS). He also secured a job as a student worker and served as a tutor and supplemental instruction coach to other students.
With financial burdens lifted a bit, Quintero began to excel at Compton College and took advantage of many of the available opportunities and student resources that added to his educational experience. He served a term as Associated Student Body treasurer and followed with an appointment as student trustee for the Compton Community College District Board of Trustees. He was a member of the Alpha Gamma Sigma honor society, Brothers 2 Brothers Club, and was awarded second place in the Humanities Department 2012-2013 "Voices of Compton" Literary Journal and Competition for his poem titled "Seasons."
Some of his most memorable honors came in 2014 as he prepared to graduate from Compton College with an associate degree in business administration. He was named a presidential scholar, received an additional generous scholarship to continue his studies at a university, and he was selected as the student speaker for the 2014 Compton College Commencement Ceremony.
In fall 2014, he transferred to California State University, Long Beach and graduated cum laude in 2016 with a bachelor's degree in business administration. He currently works as a data analyst and compliance administrator for a healthcare company that specializes in wound care where he manages a team of three people. He is now looking to increase his growth potential and acquire new skills, so he is considering going back to school while also working. "While I'm not sure what I will do next, I know I have options and I am researching graduate programs possibly in computer science and technology," he said.
He is grateful to Compton College for the opportunities offered to him as a Dreamer, and the fact he was able to accomplish what he didn't think was possible. "I received so much from Compton College," said Quintero. "I am very grateful for the sense of community and smaller campus environment. If it wasn't for all the support I received during my time there, I don't think I would have been brave enough to complete my bachelor's degree."