When 34-year old Michael Cash moved from Atlanta to San Diego two and a half years ago, he loved the weather, the culture and the access to Mexico.
Cash was deployed throughout Europe and Asia with the U.S. Army, a kind of “migrant worker for 15 years.”
“I understand what it is like to be the outsider. When I moved to San Diego I was able to associate with the Latino/Chicano community better than I could with any of the others (‘maybe because America was new to me again’).”
He works as a work-student for Professor Rosalinda Sandoval, chair of the City’s Language Department. And in a few days, he will be graduating. He has spent seven semesters at City College getting his degree in Social Science.
He’s also been active on campus, and is serving as the president of the Associated Student Government. In that role, he has traveled to Sacramento several times to lobby politicians on issues regarding students across California. In fact, he was there on May first.
“Sacramento was great. Got to meet with many senators and assembly members to advocate for higher education; I also met with Chancellors/Presidents of UC, CSU, and Community Colleges.”
Cash’s GPA is 3.8 due to a B he received in Sociology while deployed to Kosovo 11 years ago when he started his college journey in 2001.
He is planning to transfer to SDSU, majoring in International Business with emphasis in Spanish and Latin America and a minor in Honors. In the future he plans to begin an MBA/JD program at Stanford.
He has taken all of the Spanish classes offered in the college district and several private classes and even became the president of the Spanish Club on campus. His Spanish is perfect.
Cash is interested in helping immigrants, given his own experiences, traveling around the world. His goal is to become an immigration lawyer.
“I understand what it’s like to be an immigrant; the struggle to get your legal documents; paying a lot and not obtaining anything,” he said. “I don’t understand why; this is not a Third World country. We need to change the current immigration laws.”
When asked what City should change to better help students, Cash says that there is a bit of a communication breakdown on the availability of all of the services offered on campus but that it ultimately comes down to the high turnover rate of students. Since there are constantly new students, it is hard to get the word out to everyone.
“I think City College could offer students an ‘edu e-mail’ address to introduce them to campus services and facilities. Luckily, the IT department is already working on this!”
His advice to students who are planning to attend City College is to take everything seriously and to be good students. “Your grades stay with you forever.”
When asked why he wanted to celebrate in a Chicano-Latina graduation he says, “I feel a very strong connection to the Latino/Chicano culture and to people who have welcomed me with open arms. I now feel myself to be part of the community and would like to celebrate with ‘mi gente.’”
Cash said graduating is “something that I should have done long ago–that I have accomplished the first of many of my goals and I feel proud of myself.”