Saint of SF | Yan Carlos Pacheco

Saint of SF | Yan Carlos Pacheco

How has SF transformed your life? 

SF enabled me to get to where I am in life today. It helped me not be afraid to reach out to professors who are there to help. It made college accessible and attainable for somebody such as myself who, frankly, had no idea what they were doing and came from a non-traditional background. 

How did you decide on your program of study at SF?  

Being the first in my family to graduate high school, figuring out the next steps in higher education seemed very daunting until I learned about the Santa Fe College Honors Program. I decided on this program instead of a larger university because of the genuine connections from small class sizes and dedicated teachers. I felt that I would learn best in a setting where the students came first and always had access to a teacher or a mentor. The program became my home for the next three years as I grew a strong bond with the community on campus, we often took the same classes and would always be at the honors lounge studying. 

How do you hope to apply what you’ve learned to contribute back to your community? 

I learned that small communities breed genuine deep connections with those who need it the most. Since leaving SF, I have worked hard to become somebody who brings people together and makes sure everybody’s voice is heard. Through my efforts as the communication chair in the LatinXinBME national organization, I have worked alongside brilliant mentors to create a community that uplifts each other and makes sure nobody ever feels like a new student in a 400 people auditorium class. 

What are your aspirations for the future?  

In the future, I aspire to graduate with a Ph.D. in bioengineering and either become a professor or somebody in the industry driving change and making an impact in the minority community.  

What one piece of wisdom would you share with your younger self and others?  

I would say, “breathe, everything in due time.” I would remind students that your time at Santa Fe College is what you make of it and the people you meet. Getting to the next step will happen with consistent hard work, but don’t forget to cherish your time and connect with professors, as they are there to help you succeed in all aspects. 

Is there anyone who supported you to continue your education and how did they support you?: 

Dr. Bobby Hom and Dr. Beatriz Gonzalez. They were both instrumental in my transfer to the University of Florida’s bachelor of biomedical engineering. Professor Hom helped to provide guidance with everything academic-related and became a foundational mentor. Dr. Gonzalez introduced me to research through her class and helped me along the path to the University of Florida.” 

Yan Carlos graduated from SF in 2018 with his associate’s degree and is currently a Ph.D. student in the joint Bioengineering program between the University of Oregon and Oregon State University, working in both Dr. Nick Willett’s and Dr. Marian Hettiaratchi’s laboratories at the Knight Campus. He obtained his Bachelor’s of Biomedical Engineering at The University of Florida and worked in Dr. Kyle Allen’s laboratory for four years. Yan Carlos was also an SF2UF Bridge to Baccalaureate Fellow.