By Steve Cardimona, Professor of Earth Science
The young man reached into his car and grabbed his tool belt. Strapping it on, he quickly climbed the ladder and was on the roof taking instruction from the project foreman coordinating the installation of roofing shingles on the house. Although the ease with which he went about his business suggested this was his profession and just another day on the job, the reality was far from that.
Marcos Espinoza is a science student at Mendocino College, studying Human Anatomy in fall 2017. Today, however, he was acting as a volunteer helper with the Friends of the Mendocino College Coastal Field Station and Natural Sciences, working to provide a new roof on one of the dorms at the coastal facility. And this was not his first day “on the job”. Just a month before, Marcos showed up to help get the roofing job started on October 14, despite having been one of the locals who had lost his home that very week to the catastrophic Redwood Valley fire that whipped through his neighborhood.
“I was originally wait-listed for Microbiology this Fall,” Marcos explains, “but I was number two on the list and only one person dropped.” With the fire, however, he thought things worked out for the better. “The fire came at the wrong time. Now I will take Micro in spring, and that will work out great.” Although there really is no good time for such a catastrophic fire, the wrong time seems especially an understatement, considering the fact that Marcos was one of those dedicated students from inland who commuted, along with instructor Sue Blundell, to the Coast Center to take the Anatomy class. “I am glad I don’t have to drive to Fort Bragg anymore!” Marcos exclaims. “I’d have to say that all my past instructors in the science field have been amazing! I must say that Mrs. Blundell is probably the instructor who is on the top of my list because I was quite amazed with her teaching style and how much she tries to interact with each and every student in her class.”
Marcos’ educational goal is to transfer to Santa Rosa JC into their Dental Hygienist program. “In three semesters at Mendocino College I have completed all pre-requisites for the program except Microbiology. After I complete Micro in spring, I will apply to SRJC.” That means he would not be able to apply until Fall 2018 for Spring 2019 start.
“What will you do with your time in between?” I asked. “Help my father build our new house!”
Besides schoolwork and volunteering with the “Friends, Marcos does handyman work for extra money. Today I overheard him saying he had to head back inland early this particular evening. I guessed it was either to study or to do some yard work for a client; however it turns out he is a keyboardist in a band that plays Regional Mexican Music, with at least one performance every weekend to prepare for! I was about to ask him what doesn’t he do, but stopped myself as I thought of the answer: He does not do earth science. As the Earth Science instructor at the college, this is one of those young and energetic Mendocino County residents I missed having in any of my classes. But after fifteen years teaching here, I know there will be others!
“I will always love the calm atmosphere at Mendocino College,” Marcos says, “and when I leave I feel like that’s what I will miss the most.” The Science faculty and all his “Friends” wish Marcos the best!
For more information about the Mendocino College Coastal Field Station or to make a donation, contact Steve Cardimona at 707-468-3219 or visit http://foundation.mendocino.edu/donate.