Samantha Marasigan, 38, will graduate this June with four automotive certificates and three welding certificates from San Diego College of Continuing Education (SDCCE).
The accomplishment is surprising to her. After high school, she attended nursing school to honor her parents’ wish for her to become a healthcare professional and she worked a handful of jobs in the medical field.“I felt stuck and unsatisfied,” said Marasigan, whose family immigrated to the United States (US) from the Philippines in 1979 during her father’s enlistment in the US Navy. “I always wanted to go back to college but was not sure for what and taking out another student loan was out of the question,” she said. “In 2019, I discovered SDCCE and was shocked to learn they offered several classes free of charge.”
At SDCCE, adult students complete certificates across 80+ high-growth and in-demand workforce sectors including healthcare, information technology, and skilled and technical trades or earn a high school diploma/equivalency at no cost.
Marasigan looks up to her late grandfather, who inspired a new career path in the skilled and technical trades. “My grandpa did everything, he fixed cars, built things, cooked, gardened, and even sewed my clothes,” she said. “The one good thing that came out of this pandemic was realizing life is too short to feel unsatisfied. So, I continued with the automotive program and surprisingly did well.”
Following the completion of four automotive certificates at SDCCE; Quick Service Inspection Technician, Service Advisor, Auto Body and Paint Technician and Auto Technician, Marasigan planned to transition to San Diego Miramar College. Due to campus closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic pursuing an automotive degree had to wait — she was only a few credits shy of a degree.
When the welding program returned to SDCCE as a partially online option, Marasigan decided to give metal fabrication a try. “I felt stuck again not being able to go to Miramar College. But a year later, here I am, one semester away from completing the welding program. It has been a journey for me here at SDCCE. I learned a lot, not with just cars or with welding, but about myself.”
In addition to graduating from the automotive program, Marasigan has completed three welding certificates including; SMAW (Shielded Metal Arc welding), GMAW (gas metal arc welding), FCAW (flux cored arc welding), and will finish the TIGW (Tungsten Inert Gas Welding) program in the fall.
After achieving TGIW, Marasigan has her sights set on transitioning to San Diego Miramar College to finally earn an Associate of Science Degree in Automotive Technology.
SDCCE will award 7,299 diplomas and vocational certificates from 5-7:00 pm during a joint Commencement Ceremony with San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) on June 15, 2022 from 5-7 p.m. in Balboa Park at the Spreckles Organ Pavilion.