Opening doors to the future
Luis Aparicio said he understands the importance of education. His schooling taught him a new language, and one day, it may help him cure cancer.
“Or something like that,” he said. “I want to do something to help all people.”
Aparicio is studying molecular bioscience at JCCC. It’s a dream some might have considered impossible for an immigrant unable to speak English five years ago.
But even then, Aparicio realized the road to a better life was through education. Despite not knowing English, he enrolled in Wyandotte High School in Kansas City, Kan. It was there he learned English.
“I was always asking questions… I would ask all the time, ‘What that mean?’ and I just learned [English] that way,” he said.
After high school, he had no idea what to do. His original plan was to attend high school so he could learn the language and then land a job. He knew he’d be paid better once he’d learned English.
Yet as his friends prepared to attend college, he again started asking questions. “I kept asking my friends what to do after high school, and they were telling me things about a lot of different colleges, and I didn’t know which one to choose.”
He did some research and found out JCCC offers a molecular bioscience program. His friends confirmed that JCCC was a very good school, he said. “So I was like, ‘That’s my college.’”
The first year he attended JCCC, Aparicio said he had no friends on campus. He would go to class, visit the Math Resource Center and go home.
That changed when he started to join groups on campus, such as Latinos United Now and Always (LUNA), a club where he became treasurer.
He and his LUNA friends were soon hanging out and working on homework together, he said.
Aparicio said he chose molecular bioscience for two reasons: first, he has always loved science, even as a young boy in Mexico, and second, he has always wanted a career where he could help people.
He can do that, he said, by acting as a role model in the Latino community.
“Latinos have problems going to school and graduating,” Aparicio said. “I want to be a role model to them, so they see me [in school] and say, ‘If he can do it, I can do it.’”
He also wants to help not just Latinos but everyone. Molecular bioscience could be the pathway to helping Aparicio cure cancer or fight any one of the medical threats plaguing humanity, he said.
To get him there, he’s spent many hours in both the Math Resource Center and the Science Resource Center. “I go to the Math Resource Center because I’m not really good at math, but I want to be professional at math. They help you a lot… If something is not clear in the lecture, I go there, and they make it clear. That’s why I’m there all the time!” Aparicio said, laughing.He also gets support from his parents. “I want to finish, because I want them to be proud of me. And I want to be proud of me.”