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Grad Story: Elba Irene Blanco


Elba “Irene” Blanco didn't let a challenge stand in her way. She came to the United States five years ago, unable to speak English. To learn English, she enrolled in English as a Second Language classes at MSJC. Her counselors in the ESL program motivated her to keep going and enroll in credit classes. She had the desire to pursue a career in the medical field. Despite warnings it would be tough, she enrolled in prerequisite math and science courses and graduated with a 4.0 GPA.  

In her graduation speech to the Class of 2023 Irene said, “Don’t let anyone tell you that you can't achieve your dreams. Today, I am here to tell you that everything is possible!” 

Irene is living up to those words. She was accepted into several universities and chose the nursing program at Cal State San Marcos. Nursing will be her second bachelor's degree. She earned a bachelor’s degree in international business from Universidad de Guadalajara in Mexico.  

Irene Blanco

As Irene prepares to transfer to CSUSM she reflected on her time at MSJC with fondness and gratitude. “I would like to thank the ESL classes because I met wonderful people from different countries there,” she said. All my classmates had different goals; some wanted to learn English to find a job, others to help their children with their homework, and others like me who seek to continue studying and be citizens who contribute to this beautiful country. To all of us, MSJC gave us a second chance.”