By Troy Wilde
January 20, 2017
Mesa, AZ – Andrew Garcia is planning to use his college degree to become a law enforcement officer in Arizona or California.
Andrew explains, “I want to be in law enforcement and my ultimate goal is to work for the California Highway Patrol (CHP). If that doesn’t happen, it would be fine to work in law enforcement somewhere else, or back in my hometown working for the Yuma Police Department. It would be nice to be a policeman there as well, and eventually move up in that system.”
Andrew, age 22, was born and raised in Yuma where he graduated from Cibola High School. Andrew recently earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Northern Arizona University’s (NAU) Yuma Branch Campus.
Andrew adds that growing up in Yuma, which borders California, has a lot to do with his dream job, “Living in Yuma, you get to see the CHP officers a lot, because California is right next door. Also, I have some family friends in the department (CHP), and that kind of influenced me to want to go into the CHP. My dad worked in corrections and just knowing police officers – just kind of seeing them and knowing what they do, and how they help out in the community, really pushed me to go in that direction – wanting to help my community and protect people.”
Meanwhile, since graduation, Andrew has moved to Mesa to be near his girlfriend. He says living in a bigger city is a growing experience, “It’s been a good transition to life in the big city. Obviously there are a lot more things to do, and a lot more things to explore, and a lot more opportunities to explore. It’s nice to just get a different feel, and to also be out on my own and be more independent, and to not depend so much on my parents.”
Andrew may be living on his own, but he says his parents were a huge influence on his education:
“I’m the first one in the family to get a bachelor’s degree, and so they would motivate me when times would get tough. They always encouraged me to just keep going, and said that working hard in college, and getting the degree would pay off down the road. Also, they wanted me to be a role model to my little brother and sister, so that also gave me motivation as well to finish school, so that they can proceed onto university.”
To date, College Success Arizona has provided scholarships and mentoring services, valued at more than 15-million dollars, to over 11-hundred students. Each student receives up to six-thousand dollars per year for educational expenses, and specialized mentoring services provided by a team of highly skilled “Success Advisers.”
Matt Sotelo is Andrew’s success adviser, “Matt helped me a hot. He would message me from time to time to see what I was doing, and if I needed help with anything. If I ever had any questions, he would answer them and he was always there for me.”
Andrew adds that the financial aspect of the scholarship helped to secure his education, “They really helped me out. If I didn’t get the scholarship I don’t know how I would be able to finish school. Without the scholarship it would have been really difficult for me.”
Meanwhile, for middle and high school students in Yuma and elsewhere, who may be considering college, Andrew has some advice, “Don’t take it lightly because it will be worth it at the end. Once you graduate you will be able to get a job in the career field that you’ve chosen. College will also provide you with a lot of good experiences, rather than if you just go straight into the workforce. You’ll be able to meet new people and different cultures as well.”
Beyond the books, Andrew enjoys body building and off-roading in the desert around Yuma, “I’m a big enthusiast of off-roading and things of that nature. I have a quad and when I go back down to Yuma I usually work on the machine, maintaining or fixing it, or maybe taking it out in the desert. So I’m hugely passionate about off-roading.”