Student Spotlight: Jenifer Tovar
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Student Spotlight: Jenifer Tovar

For Jenifer Tovar, being a Warrior means that you never give up. Tovar will graduate with the El Camino College Class of 2020 in June, and as student speaker at the virtual commencement ceremony, she plans to discuss resiliency and meeting challenges, while sending a message of love and unity.

“Sometimes life gets the best of us, and it teaches us how to balance school life, personal life, and the things that go in between,” she said. “Some people work full-time jobs, have people to take care of, take public transportation, and still pass their classes. Some people start school later in life to find a better future. Being a Warrior is about picking up the armor, dusting yourself off, and living to fight another day.”

The Class of 2020 at El Camino College will celebrate commencement virtually this year, a necessity for meeting social distancing requirements due to the unusual circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tovar is looking forward to connecting with her classmates through the online commencement and will celebrate the important milestone with her family.

A communication studies major, Tovar enrolled at El Camino right after graduating from Hawthorne High School because she didn’t feel ready for a university mentally, physically, or financially. The first in her family to graduate from college, she has faced triumphs as well as challenges that included a serious family medical emergency. Becoming a dedicated student and taking advantage of enrichment opportunities helped her succeed.

Joining the Science Club was a highlight of her time at El Camino, offering profound experiences that impacted her education. She became the first person in her family to travel to a number of California’s most prolific parks to study the geology, biology, and geography of some of the world's most spectacular landscapes. Camping at Yosemite National Park and at Lake Tahoe were among her most memorable Science Club field trips. Even though she is a communication major, Tovar also had access to different scientific research opportunities as an El Camino student.

“Conducting geological fieldwork at multiple locations all throughout California was one of the best eye-opening experiences I ever had,” she added. “It’s very humbling, and a privilege to be able to obtain this kind of hands-on experience.”

Although Tovar acknowledges that these are uncertain times, she remains optimistic for the future and will transfer to a university next year. She hopes her classmates remain steadfast in their pursuit of their dreams and continue to make an impact on the world as Warriors.

“Going to El Camino College was probably the best decision I’ve ever made,” she said. “After all these years trying to find myself, I’m finally here. And this is just the beginning. COVID-19 may have impacted my time now, but life has bigger and better plans waiting for me.”