Sergio grew up in an Orange County neighborhood where gang violence was the norm. As a teenager, he experienced being incarcerated. Wanting to better his life, he committed himself to positive transformation, beginning with his education.
Sergio joined Project Rebound at Cal State Fullerton, a community-based program for formerly incarcerated students interested in academic careers. While earning his bachelor’s degree, he lived in the program’s residence – the first housing community for formerly incarcerated university students in the nation. “It took a long time to get used to the quiet,” said Sergio. “The program gave us peer support, book and meal support, parking passes – everything we needed to become successful students.”
With a community backing him, Sergio flourished at Cal State Fullerton and became a student leader. He didn’t stop once he received his bachelor’s degree – Sergio is pursuing his master’s degree in higher education, which he is set to receive in May 2023. He plans to pursue his doctorate in education and hopes to one day become a dean.
Sergio also serves as a housing coordinator at the residence that provided him peace and stability as an undergraduate: “I’m a role model for the students currently there, and I help to motivate them and get them on track…