City College Times

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Jessie Wilson

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[media-credit id=36 align=”alignnone” width=”400″]Dedicated to SJCC[/media-credit]

Xiomara Martinez (left) and Sophia Partida (right) assist with financial aid and veteran’s affairs in Student Center.

Some students never see the inside of the financial aid department.

Many students never make it past waiting on their check to hit the mailbox, to care who does the work behind the scenes. For veteran students there are a few more steps than the FAFSA to attend school.

Sophia Partida is the Veterans Affaris coordinator here at SJCC.

While working with Uncle Sam is never easy, she always has her gloves on for the heavy lifting.

Partida started in the financial aid office as a student doing work study, processing forms and shuffling papers.

Four years later, a full-time position became available and she took it.

“I enjoy giving back to our veteran soldiers,” Partida said. “They have sacrificed so much.”

The Post 9/11 GI Bill increased veterans enrollment at SJCC over 200 percent in the last four semesters.

Last year, veteran Frank Martinez, presented Partida with an award for her outstanding service along with a flag that he flew in Iraq while deployed. Martinez transferred his education benefits to his daughter.

“She is transferring in the fall to a four-year college in the fall,” Partida said, the pride of her work shown in her smile as she reflects on her past.

Xiomara Martinez has worked in the financial aid department at SJCC for nine years with Ms. Partida.

“Working with Sophia has been great,” she says, “I get the easy part dealing with the students Sophia gets the hard work with the VA.”

“ In my spare time I enjoy shopping, horror movies and hanging with my boys CJ, and Isaiah,” Sophia said. CJ, 21, is a film major here at SJCC and Isaiah, 11, is a avid baseball player.

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Doriann Tran (left) and Carol Vasquez (right) help students with applications to four-year universities every week.

The Career/Transfer Center has been committed to helping students achieve their educational goals and transfer to four year institutions year in and year out.

That commitment to students is shared by all working in room SC-216A including the workstudy students and volunteers.

One woman in particular who has made it her mission to help others is Doriann Tran.

Tran, who has been with at the Transfer Center for three years said that she enjoys working at the center to help guide students through the process and learning from them.

She encourages students to take the time to explore the resources around campus.

“Utilize all the support/academic services available to you, especially counseling support and transfer center early on,” Tran said.

“Learn to advocate for yourself and ask questions, don’t wait until the last minute to plan your goal,” Tran said.

Zirama Vega works at the financial aid office and often spends time in the Transfer Center with Tran. “(She) is a team player, open to new ideas, takes initiative and ownership of the projects she becomes involved with,” Vega said.

Tran was born on Central Expressway in Santa Clara during an interesting turn of events and has since received a bachelor’s degree in Linguistics from the University of California San Diego.

She then attended UC Los Angeles where she received her master’s in Educational Counseling in Student Affairs. She lives with her husband and the birth of her one-year-old baby has slowed down her hobby of traveling.

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Dedicated to SJCC