Many standout Irvine Valley College (IVC) students have managed to juggle professional responsibilities with their college experience, staying successful at both even in the face of dramatic change this semester.
One such student, Cody Abril, is ready to transfer to California State University, Fullerton to major in communications with an emphasis in public relations after taking classes at IVC for three years.
Cody, who arrived at IVC from the foster care system, was born in Riverside and moved to Orange County when he was 11. After he graduated from Marina High School in Huntington Beach, he moved to Lake Forest and began attending IVC. He currently works as a public relations manager at a dental office in Mission Viejo.
“For most of my time at IVC, I was working,” Cody says. “Most semesters, I would go to classes and then go to work every day after school. Otherwise, I would be studying, including weekends. I always tried to spend time with friends too.”
Cody is especially thankful for the Guardian Scholars program, which helps foster youth like him take advantage of all that IVC has to offer them. The innovative Guardian Scholars program at IVC offers a range of services and benefits to current and former foster youth, including priority registration, academic counseling, special workshops, one-on-one assistance with things like applying for financial aid, and benefits like funding for textbooks.
In particular, Cody thanks Lizett Bobadilla, the IVC Guardian Scholars counselor, for all she has done to help him achieve his transfer dreams.
“She has helped me a lot over the last few semesters with everything I needed to do to apply and transfer,” he says. “I really think all foster youth should look into Guardian Scholars. They’re really helpful and informative.”
Bobadilla praises Cody for his ambition and positive attitude. “Cody is one of the most tenacious and hardworking Guardian Scholars I’ve had the pleasure of working with at IVC,” she says. “Since our first meeting, it was clear that he was driven to succeed and several of our conversations revolved around his next steps.”
Cody credits his professors and counselor for being willing to work with him and his busy work and school schedule, and says Communications 1 was one of his favorite classes. But one professor in particular stood out.
“My favorite professor is Jefferey Johnson,” he says, citing the English professor’s course structure and demeanor. “There are just too many positives there to list them all. He’s really accommodating and understanding. There’s just nothing bad I could say about the guy.
Johnson describes Cody as “an incredibly devoted student in the truest sense.” In one of Johnson’s classes, which came with almost 1,000 pages of required reading, Cody asked Johnson for more book recommendations.
Johnson also says Cody is a “genuinely compassionate person,” using the example of his Writing 1 class. “All in class looked to him as a kind-hearted and knowledgeable member of class who was always willing to help those around him,” Johnson says. “Moreover, even after he completed my class, he would routinely come to visit me in office hours without any agenda besides wanting to talk about literature and life.”
Cody settled on IVC after evaluating the many community college options in the area. “I’d heard that it was a really good transfer school,” he says. He learned firsthand that the rumors were correct.
Cody changed his area of study midway through his IVC experience, when he realized that he enjoyed the work he was already doing and wanted to become more proficient at it. Being at a community college allowed him to easily transition to a new area of interest.
Cody offered some wisdom with incoming or current IVC students. He hopes more students plug in to what IVC has to offer them. By reading emails and social media posts from the college, students can find out special programs and services they qualify for, he says.
“I didn’t look at my emails much at first. If I had just taken a little bit of time doing that, it would have helped me a lot,” Cody says. “I didn’t know what I was doing at first. But people are always willing to help you out at IVC. If I had read my emails and known about the services sooner, it would have made it a lot easier for me.”
Cody also says he would have participated more in student clubs and other activities if worse if his work schedule had allowed him to, and encourages anyone interested in them to explore this option.
“Now that I know about them, I want to look into some clubs at Fullerton, like the sales club,” he says. “I can take advantage of those things I missed at IVC. Students should get involved on campus because it also helps with things like getting jobs. I also think students should know to really pay attention to their grades.”
All in all, Cody says, his decision to go to IVC helped him to take the next step toward his future success.
“To be honest, I’m really thankful that I went there,” Cody says. They helped me with my acceptance to my school; I looked like a better student because I was coming from IVC. I’m thankful.”
“I’m excited to see what the future holds for Cody at CSUF,” Bobadilla says.
“He’s a wonderful student and an even more wonderful person,” Johnson says.
To learn more about the IVC Guardian Scholars program, visit http://students.ivc.edu/guardianscholars/Pages/default.aspx.