Southwestern College Making Triumphant Stories Possible


In many ways, Southwestern College (SWC) is a hidden gem within San Diego County. As the only facility of higher education in the South Bay region, it has been the go-to institution for hundreds of thousands of local students for more than 60 years, and nearly every facet of our community has been touched by SWC in one way or another.

Our accomplished alumni can be found throughout our region, and include our current Chula Vista Chief of Police, numerous local politicians, business leaders, nurses, mechanics, artists and more, but how do these journeys begin?

In the case of SWC student Lyzzett Lozano, her story begins in East County when she became a young mother right out of high school. This unexpected development required that she shift some of her plans and expectations, but it did not mean the end of her dreams as some tried to make her believe. Luckily for Lyzzett, she was surrounded by supportive friends who told her about the possibilities available at Southwestern College, so when her daughter reached school age, she decided to enroll and reclaim the hopes she had temporarily put on hold.

Upon embarking on her journey at Southwestern College, what Lyzzett found was more than an opportunity to get an education or prepare for a career; what she found was a community that was prepared and eager to support who she was as a person. When Lyzzett was having difficulty affording reliable childcare, she received an SWC Emergency Cares Grant to help cover costs and allow her to remain enrolled in school. When she was having trouble making ends meet after losing her job during the COVID pandemic, she was able to stop by the Jaguar Pantry for groceries and personal necessities. Lyzzett also received free tutoring services, counseling assistance, scholarships, and mentorship opportunities, all while maintaining a stellar GPA.

Now, Lyzzett is a chemical engineering major and part of the STEM Mentored Pathways program funded by the National Science Foundation. This incredible program supports students in transferring to a university and includes four years of both scholarship and mentorship. With the help of her program mentors, Lyzzett also landed an all-expense paid international research internship in Concepcion, Chile last summer. Her work was published in the World Congress of Polyphenols, naming her as a coauthor and Southwestern College as a participating organization.

Currently the President of the Society of Hispanic Engineers SWC chapter, and a leader within the Society of Women Engineers SWC chapter, Lyzzett plans to transfer to the University of Oregon in fall 2023 where she and her daughter will embark on their next big adventure of success together.

Southwestern College is incredibly proud of Lyzzett, and prouder still that her journey is one of many stories of triumph witnessed every day on the Southwestern College campus. Support from our community and from individuals like you is what makes these triumphant stories possible. Join the SWC Family and be part of a better tomorrow for us all.


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Esteban Villanueva