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Joshua Garza

​DSPS Makes All the Difference for SCC Student

The transition from high school to college can be stressful, filled with increased personal responsibility, new people, and an unfamiliar environment. Consider entering this brave new world not only as a new student, but also as one who is struggling through an intensive battery of cancer treatments. Such was Joshua Garza’s first experience at Santiago Canyon College (SCC) in 2013.

Image of Joshua GarzaAttending classes on the SCC campus was a huge step for Garza, following a two-year hiatus after high school when his fragile health and constant medical appointments didn’t align with a class schedule. Depression and confusion set in until Garza’s doctor suggested that he ease into college with just one online class, which he did. That encouraged him to take two classes at the SCC campus, a frustrating attempt that found him challenged and in need of help - until an instructor recommended that he check in with the Disabled Student Programs and Services (DSPS) office on campus.

"The DSPS has made all the difference, and provided me with accommodations that are specific to my personal needs to succeed as a student," said Garza. "Each student is assigned a counselor dedicated to facilitating solutions to your challenges," he added.

SCC professor/learning disability specialist Laura Wirtz, Psy.D., helped Garza secure a less stressful test-taking environment and a note taker so that he could better focus on lectures. Other benefits of the DSPS include individual offices so that counselors can have private conversations with students, as well as an open common area with computers, tables, and on-site tutorial aides.

Garza's unique experience has him pursuing an AA degree in chemistry, with plans to transfer to a four-year institution to pursue studies to become a biomedical engineer. "I know what it feels like to be a patient, and I want to develop devices that make for a better patient experience."