Cynthia Hernandez Garcia Donor Profile

Students' struggles prompts employee donation

Cynthia Hernandez Garcia Photo resizedSpend time working in student services and you’ll quickly see how student success can hinge on receipt of a scholarship or bursary.

Cynthia Hernandez Garcia made that discovery while an auxiliary employee booking appointments for students in need of financial support for everything from books to groceries. She’d been at the College for more than a decade – first as a student and then as an employee – but hadn’t realized the financial struggles so many students face.

“I was fortunate to be financially supported by my family while going through school so I was never desperate for essentials like tuition or food, but there are students who work two or three jobs and still need financial assistance,” she said. “I became a donor because I realized that I had a personal responsibility to give back and to leave a legacy for other students to follow. It was also a way to say thank you to the College for the life changing experience I’ve had.”

Garcia was recently hired as Student Liaison in the International Department; however she is no stranger to the campus. At 18, she moved to Kelowna from Cuernavaca, Mexico and spent several years here taking ESL classes and volunteering for the International Education Department, where she worked with summer study tours and helped with events. Eventually, she applied and was accepted into the Business Administration Degree Program. She graduated in 2008 and after three years working outside the College, realized she missed her home away from home.

“I began watching the Okanagan College website and applying for auxiliary positions and eventually I got this job. I am thrilled to be working where I am because I can identify with the students and I know what it feels like to be on the other side of the desk. It’s my time to give back and to help other students have the good experience that I did.”

Securing a full-time job hasn’t slowed Garcia down in the least. This September she will begin teaching Spanish four nights a week and in March 2016 she expects to complete her Masters in Linguistics.