Didn’t complete high school? Don’t let it close doors permanently in your life. Meet Zac Warner, who is studying physics and engineering. He’s a stellar example of what’s possible. 

Zac came to Southwestern and earned his GED in 2019. His high score on the GED exams earned him a big scholarship to start college on a pathway to a career. 

“I knew I wanted a career in a STEM field and did my research,” he said. “Electrical engineering was the best fit for me and something I could see myself doing for 40 years.”

That’s just part of his story. 

Zac has overcome more than most people. He beat addiction and homelessness. He spent time in jail. Today, he attributes his turnaround to his strong religious faith. With support from his parole officer, Zac jumped through every hoop he needed to regain custody of his son. 

“I did everything I could to make it happen and even took extra parenting classes that weren’t required.”

Zac is now in his second year of college, a single parent to an energetic

son, and is maintaining a 4.0 GPA! He also works as a tutor at SWOCC. 

“I love tutoring. I get to help students in general, but I also get to help many of them work towards their GED. People who are just like me when I decided to get my act together,” he said. 

Zac’s excited to be completing his education soon in the new state-of-the-art Health & Science Technology building on the Coos Campus. And, he’s got advice for other people struggling in life. 

“The world will always give you an excuse to quit. It has to be your choice to keep going. None of the excuses matter,” he said. “It doesn’t matter who you were, where you came from, or what you’ve done. It matters who you’re going to be, where you’re going, and what you’re going to do next. Don’t let your past or other people stop you from growing.”

And this just in . . . Zac was recently accepted into the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars (NCAS) program. Zac earned a spot at a nine-day virtual experience with NASA. As a highly competitive program, NCAS gives students the opportunity to interact and network with NASA engineers and scientists. NCAS can become a stepping stone to an exciting future career in STEM. Congratulations to Zac for being invited to participate in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!

For more information about Southwestern’s physics and engineering degrees visit: https://physics.socc.edu/.



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