Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Elizabeth Felix: Growing into a leader at Grossmont College

Elizabeth Felix 

Elizabeth Felix was hoping to enlist in the Marine Corps right after graduating from high school, but being just 17 years old at the time, she was unable to get her parents to sign off on the move. She enrolled at Grossmont College instead. It changed her life.

The 20-year-old Lemon Grove resident graduates in June with associate degrees in computer science and psychology and plans on transferring to a University of California or California State University campus for her bachelor’s degree before enlisting in the Marines as an officer and then launching a second career in the Behavior Analysis Unit at the FBI.

“Being at Grossmont has prepared me so well for my future,” said Felix, a former treasurer with the Grossmont College Indivisible Club, a former vice president of SOGI, an acronym for the Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity Club, and an active participant in the campus PUENTE project, which is part of a national program aimed at increasing the transfer rates of disproportionately impacted students. “I couldn’t have made it this far without the support from staff and my friends on campus.”

Her determination and accomplishments have led to a Lewis Smith Memorial Scholarship from the Foundation for Grossmont & Cuyamaca Colleges, and Felix will be among the several dozen students honored at a January awards ceremony.

Michele Toral, PUENTE Project coordinator and counselor, said Felix is deserving of the honors that come her way.

“Elizabeth is dedicated and she is reliable, but what honestly sets her apart is her incredible leadership skills,” Toral said. “If she sees something that isn’t working, she will take the initiative to improve the situation. She is setting the bar, and she is setting the bar high, for other students here on campus.”

Felix has always been driven (“When I set my mind out to do something, I’m going to do it”), and her experience with the JROTC at Grossmont High School led her to set her sights on becoming a Marine. At Grossmont College, Felix is following her passion for computer science, which was nurtured in a Grossmont High School computer science pathway program.

“It just seemed interesting in the beginning, and that’s why I went down the computer programming pathway, but before too long, I realized I was really good at it,” said Felix, who aspires to work as a Marine cyber security technician. “Considering that this is going to be our future and where our lives are going, it’s a good field to be in. It’s also an area that you don’t see to many females pursuing, and I want to send a message that we can be every bit as successful as anyone else.”

In the meantime, Felix works up to 18 hours each week at the Grossmont College Financial Aid Office and a similar number of hours at Home Depot in Lemon Grove. She credits the people and programs at Grossmont College, such as EOPS and the Tutoring Center, in addition to her family with keeping her focused.

“In the end, though, it’s not just a good campus that makes the student good, it’s the good student that makes the campus good.”