Is Your Future Still a Puzzle?
Only you can solve the puzzle of who you are and where you’re going, but if you make good educational choices, finding the missing pieces and fitting them all together will be a much easier task.
Take a look inside and read about six entrepreneurs who found important pieces of their puzzles at Glendale Community College. You just might find that GCC is the best place to start solving your own.
Student Outreach Services (SOS) is here to help you get started. Call SOS: (818) 240-1000 ext. 3031 or visit our web site: www.glendale.edu/sos
Start Solving it at GCC!
Dr. Aris Minas & Dr. Arthur Jordan—
Cañada Dental Group
About 30 years ago and half a world away, young Arthur Jordan and Aris Minas stood right next to each other as they posed for their kindergarten class photo. Years later, they graduated in the same class from Glendale High School, but it was only after they enrolled in the same biology class at GCC that they got to know one another, became friends and started on the path that would lead them to open a business together.
“That’s where we met; Biology 101,” they said in unison. “We both majored in biology, but it took some time before we settled on dentistry for our careers,” Dr. Minas recalled.
“Once you set your mind on a certain profession, it takes many, many years of commitment to complete your education,” said Dr. Jordan. “In my opinion, you have to know it’s something you really want to do before you actually get into it.”
Since he was interested in science and medicine, Arthur began volunteering at a hospital ER while he was still a student at GCC. “It helped me realize that dealing with life and death is not my thing,” he confided. “Then I tried volunteering at a dental office. I liked it, and slowly put myself on the path to dental school.”
That path led both Arthur and Aris to transfer to UCLA where they spent two years as roommates. “We were really well prepared by our experience at GCC, so our transition to the university went very smoothly. In fact, we got even better grades at UCLA than we did at GCC,” said Aris. The USC School of Dentistry was their next step, and they graduated in 2006.
“We worked in different dental offices for a few years but frequently talked to each other about our experiences,” explained Dr. Jordan. “We realized that we have very similar goals and mentalities, so when the opportunity came for us to open our own business, we took it.”
And where better to locate their new dental office than right across the street from Glendale College? “It makes perfect sense for us to be here,” said Dr. Minas. We live here in Glendale, our families are here; this is the community we want to serve and give back to.”
“A lot of people have doubts about going to community college, but it was one of the best things I ever did,” Dr. Minas recalled. “The transition from high school to GCC was crucial for me. It was a wake-up call, but the one-on-one access to faculty members and the small class sizes really helped me find my way.”
“Glendale College is a great place to start your journey,” said Dr. Jordan. “In today’s world, everyone should have a bachelor’s degree, or at least an AA, and GCC lets you look into different fields and see what works for you. It’s a great place to start.”
Lourdes D. Wilson—
Wilson Law Group, P.C.
Sowing the seeds for a rewarding career can be done in many different ways, but it often happens unintentionally, one little kernel at a time. When Lourdes Wilson was a young Barrister at John Marshall High School, she never intended to pursue a career in law, but her involvement in student government spawned an interest that would eventually take root and grow.
“I was planning on going into medicine; my mom was a nurse and I was thinking of becoming a doctor,” Lourdes recalled. “I came to Glendale College so I’d be able to explore my options without incurring a ton of debt, but after taking some biology and calculus classes, I discovered that medicine probably wasn’t for me.”
Since she had enjoyed student government at Marshall, she pursued it again at GCC and was elected to several positions, including VP of Finance. “Working with the ASGCC advisors, I started getting excited about political science,” she said, “and after I transferred to Cal State LA, it became my major for my bachelor’s degree.”
Her coursework at CSULA included some pre-law classes, and “I found that I really loved it. That’s when I decided to go to law school,” she said.
“Academics wasn’t always my strong suit,” Lourdes confided. “I wasn’t as good of a student as I could have been in high school, and I took my time figuring out what I wanted to do at GCC. But, once I realized that I wanted to go to law school, I started pulling straight A’s,” she said.
After earning her law degree from Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles, Lourdes went to work for a large downtown firm where the work involved civil litigation: contract disputes, antitrust and legal malpractice. “While I really loved the people I was working with, I was still looking for something more,” she said. “So I did a lot of soul-searching to find something that would be personally more satisfying; something where I could help people without hurting others. Even though disputes are usually resolved in compromise, someone’s getting the short end of the stick,” she explained.
At the beginning of this year, Lourdes and a friend from law school formed a partnership and opened their own firm, specializing in elder law and estate planning. “It’s an area where the ultimate goal is to help your client gain something, but no one has to hurt as a result.”
“I think I built the foundation and desire to be an entrepreneur while I was in student government,” she said. “I really loved the business aspect of it—creating budgets, dealing with people—it’s a lot like running a small business.”
“Thankfully I started at GCC. There are people there who can help you find your path without it being so costly to try different things.”
Even though she was an “A” student at Burbank High School, when the time came to graduate, Hala Shamas still wasn’t sure what she wanted to do with her life. “I decided to go to community college and figure it out from there,” she said.
Like any good student would, Hala did her homework and found that Glendale Community College had some of the best transfer rates in the region. She also visited the campus, talked with the counselors and polled her friends. Some lived as far away as Van Nuys, but planned to travel the extra distance to take advantage of the advanced programs at GCC. “Glendale College would be a good place for me to start,” Hala concluded.
While concentrating on general education classes during her first year, she once again took advantage of GCC’s Student Services to help plan her next step. “I had an interest in marketing, so after speaking to some counselors, I decided on a business major,” she said. “They steered me toward the best schools for business degrees, so I ended up applying to USC and NYU.”
The Marshall School of Business at USC admitted Hala, but after her first year at the university she changed her major to global marketing. She earned a degree from the USC School of International Relations with a minor in business. “I really enjoyed the political aspect of international relations, so after graduating, I looked into going to law school,” she said.
But Hala also wanted to get some work experience, so she went on a few interviews and was quickly offered a job at a home entertainment company in Burbank as a project coordinator working on DVD and Blu-ray releases for major Hollywood studios. She has since advanced to her current position as Senior Manager of Accounts, but all the while she has been developing another passion that began during her sophomore year at GCC.
“I was a senator and later the Vice President of Campus Activities in the student government,” Hala explained. “We planned events for the students and I really loved it.” After leaving GCC, she continued planning events and fund raisers for her church. “A few years ago I decided I had enough experience to start an event planning business, so a friend and I teamed up to form Event Mode.”
Hala continues to work full time at the home entertainment company, handling most of the contracts and financial affairs for Event Mode in the evenings while her partner sees to most of their daytime appointments. “Business is growing steadily,” explained Hala. “Summer is our biggest season, and this year we had to hire some part-time help. I’m hoping that in the next year or two we’ll be ready to take on full-time employees.”
“You don’t have to know where you’re going,” Hala reasoned, “but if you start in a good place, you’ll be able to follow your interests wherever they lead you.”
Ara Adjamian & Louie Sadd—
Datastream Technology Management
Back in 1997, a couple of self-described computer geeks at Glendale High took a big chance on their future. A new school that would emphasize technology and science was about to open, and after hearing the recruitment pitch from its principal, Ara and Louie talked each other into making the move to Clark Magnet High School.
“It was a leap of faith for us,” Ara remembered, “but it really paid off. They constantly pushed us to learn new technologies.”
Coming of age during the computer and Internet revolution made it easy for Ara and Louie to set their career goals. “Computers were going from just being cool to becoming a necessity, so we saw a lot of opportunities there,” said Louie.
While their business plans focused on computer technology, their educational goal was to attend USC. “My brother had attended Glendale College and was in the Scholars program,” Ara related. “From his experience, we knew there was a good pathway to get into USC.” “It gets more difficult to get in there every year,” said Louie. “If you’re coming out of high school, they’re looking for really high GPAs, SAT scores and lots of AP classes.” “That’s not who we were,” acknowledged Ara. “We were B+ students.”
“We were really excited to attend Glendale College,” Louie recalled. “We saw the bridge to USC as a done deal if we excelled there. We both knew people who had done it before us, and their examples were our inspiration.”
“The Scholars program at GCC was very well organized so we knew exactly what path we needed to take,” Ara continued. “The work wasn’t done for us—we had to show up and make the grades—but the fact that everyone in the program was on a similar track was very motivating.”
The young entrepreneurs launched their business during their first semester at GCC. They started small, but by the time they got to USC they were able to use the proceeds to help pay some of their expenses. Now they’re located in a Glendale office tower and serve clients mostly in the insurance and financial services industries.
“As an outsourced IT solution, we help businesses run smarter through technology,” Louie explained. “Instead of having an internal IT department, our clients pay us a flat rate to handle all their systems planning and support.”
Aside from helping pave the way to USC, Louie and Ara’s time at GCC was well spent. “Some of the best professors we ever had were at Glendale College,” said Ara. “That’s really worth noting,” Louie agreed. “Any of the professors we had at Glendale College could have walked out of a classroom at USC and we wouldn’t have thought twice about it. They’re all very high caliber.”
Planning to Transfer to a Four-Year University?
You Should Know:
Glendale Community College has the highest transfer rate in Region 7.
[ Region 7 includes Santa Monica, Pasadena, Pierce, El Camino, LA Valley, East Los Angeles, Los Angeles,
West Los Angeles, Harbor, Mission, Southwest, Trade-Tech, and Compton. ]
Glendale Community College has the fourth-highest transfer rate in the state.
[ Among similarly-sized community colleges. ]
Glendale Community College is the fifth leading transfer school to UCLA.
[ Among all schools in the state/country/world/universe! ]
Data source: California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office for 2009–2010 school year.
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