Indiana private schools honor
first-gen student Martin Garcia, who’s “Realizing the Dream”

Martin Garcia wants to become a doctor. “My dream is to go into an M.D. and a Ph.D. program and become a medical doctor and do research as well.”

“Manchester University is the place where I started my journey,” says the gregarious sophomore chemistry major from La Porte, Ind. Garcia is the first in his family to attend college, the recipient of financial support and mentoring especially tailored to make excellent higher education affordable.

He caught the attention of Independent Colleges of Indiana, which is celebrating Martin and 30 other first-generation high achievers who are “Realizing the Dream.” With his and his family’s commitment and hard work, along with mentoring and amazing opportunities at Manchester, Garcia truly is realizing his dream – and he’s only a sophomore.

Last summer, Garcia earned an undergraduate research fellowship to the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Boise State University. He then got to present his research to the Idaho Idea Network of Biomedical Research Excellence.

This January, he will travel deep into Nicaragua with MU alumni health professionals on an annual Medical Practicum. Not only will he have the opportunity to work with patients, he will help as an interpreter, using his MU Spanish minor.

“I would never have imagined I would be doing this,” said Garcia. “My experiences at Manchester have shown me what I want to do with my life. I want to be a scientist.”

Sharing the celebration spotlight is Garcia’s very proud high school chemistry teacher, who influenced him to pursue his dreams.

“My experiences educating and watching Martin grow and mature over the past several years have been so rewarding, encouraging and uplifting that it reaffirms why I became an educator,” says John Sherrick, teacher at La Porte High School. “Without a doubt, I expect Martin to continue to exhibit these tremendous qualities and attributes throughout the remainder of his college career and beyond.”

Garcia is on the Dean’s List at Manchester, is a member of several honor societies and is active in science pre-professional and multicultural organizations. Giving back is a big part of his life, both through Volunteer Services on campus, and as a blood donor, chemistry tutor and pharmacy volunteer for La Porte Hospital.

He’s also a student admissions ambassador, telling the Manchester story of affordable excellence to prospective students.

Each of the 31 honored students receives a $2,000 check to help with college costs, and each student’s chosen “most influential” high school teacher/mentor receives $1,000. “Realizing the Dream” is supported by a grant from Lilly Endowment Inc.

One out of every three students on the 31 private Independent Colleges of Indiana campuses is a first-generation student. Generous financial aid provided by the campuses themselves, combined with state and federal grants, makes a private college education a possibility for all students in Indiana.

November 2013

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