Gabriel Fajardo: Student Success

Putting the ‘A’ in MESA

Gabriel Fajardo successfully completed his Ventura College experience.

Hard at work in the classroom, deeply immersed in a 23-credit-unit final semester as he approached the finish line for graduation in 2023, Gabriel took a moment to reflect on how much everything and everyone has meant to him during his time here.

“My experience at Ventura College has been incredible, to say the least,” explains Gabriel, who has excelled in the school’s Math, Engineering, and Science Achievement (MESA) Program. “I have encountered the most dedicated and compassionate professors here, and my engineering and physics professors have particularly inspired me to be the best student I can be by modeling their passion and love for their work.”


Gabriel laughing

“I have had ambitious goals while I attended Ventura College, and I wouldn’t have been able to reach those goals if it wasn’t for my professors, who have gone above and beyond to create exceptional learning environments that have allowed me to grow exponentially.”

Words like exceptional and exponential come naturally to the razor-sharp Gabriel, and they could also be used to describe this dedicated and passionate young man. His hard work and natural academic acumen were greatly enhanced by the added confidence and support of The Ventura College Foundation—and the Gene Haas Scholarship in 2022 and then with the Gerald R. Curtis Engineering Scholarship and Hofflund Family Phoenix Scholarship in 2023.

In fact, they helped him begin to believe. From there, everything has fallen nicely into place.

“The Ventura College Foundation helped me believe in myself,” states Gabriel. “Before applying for scholarships through the Foundation, I didn’t really believe that I would have any chance at getting a scholarship. I was shocked when I found out that I had been awarded a substantial scholarship through the Foundation last year. It really made me feel good about myself—and feel like I wasn’t alone in my educational journey.”

Gabriel hopes to powerfully impart this learned wisdom on to the next generation of Ventura College students and VC Foundation scholarship recipients. He hopes they reach for the stars and never give up on their dreams—while also never forgetting it’s acceptable to ask for help during your journey to educational advancement and success.

“I would tell students to forget their previous biases about scholarships and trust that the Ventura College Foundation wants nothing more than to give them support through scholarships,” explains Gabriel. “If they’re concerned about their financial aid, they shouldn’t be. Most students have unmet financial needs—even after grants have been awarded. Scholarships will fill that gap.”

Gabriel adds that he also enrolled in the Federal Work Study program to supplement his financial aid from the Foundation. This enabled him to free up less time spent working—and pour more energy into the classroom pursuing his degree.

“I want to tell the Foundation donors, thank you for believing in me and supporting my goals and aspirations,” says Gabriel. “Last year, I sold myself short by thinking that I would not be accepted to top universities in California. I’m proud to say now that I’ve been accepted to some of the best universities in the state—and I’m more excited than ever for the next step in my educational journey. Your donations motivated and inspired me to work harder. And doors have opened for me that I never thought would open.”

Gabriel also remains forever grateful for the friendships he forged during his time at Ventura College. In fact, he cites these relationships as the most enjoyable overall aspect of his experience.“My favorite thing about my time at Ventura College was the camaraderie amongst my peers,” says Gabriel. “I spent countless hours working on homework and studying for exams with other students. We helped one other and encouraged each other to persevere through difficult times.

“Working with other students has been an integral part of my success. I encourage everyone to look for those around you who have similar aspirations—and work with them to achieve a common goal.”