Daisy Bautista, mother and honors transfer student

We like to make examples of our students at Saddleback College. These examples vary widely across the spectrum, but without a doubt the fact remains that our body of scholars are always offering new and compelling stories to follow or catalogue.

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Saddleback College honors student Daisy Bautista, 21, awarded the prestigious Juan Lara Scholarship by the University of Irvine for demonstrating exemplary academic participation. (Photo courtesy of Daisy Bautista)

Saddleback College honors student Daisy Bautista has drawn the attention of her peers and professors during her pursuit of higher learning. She meets us in the cafeteria above the school store where we pass her colleagues who flag her down to say hello.

The 21-year-old American history major has established herself as a leader amongst peers.

With such topics as the ‘origins of the double-standard found in ancient Aztecs’, to the ‘development of femininity in gang culture,’ her research work has been featured in conferences held at UC Irvine where faculty and students alike have come to appreciate her findings.

So much so that Bautista has been awarded the prestigious Juan Lara Scholarship by the University of Irvine. The scholarship awards $2,500 for demonstrating exemplary academic participation as well as outreach in state sponsored programs.

Bautista’s family is from Michoacán, Mexico. She and her siblings pave the frontier in education for generations to come, particularly for Aaron, her three-year-old son.

“My son is my main priority,” Bautista said. “I want teach him to read and write. I want to get him in preschool while he’s three, but he’s gotta be potty trained first!”

Beyond the Honors Transfer Council of California (HTCC), Bautista is also a member of Phi Theta Kappa, a community  geared toward the excellence of two-year students. She also maintains her role of co-vice president of Fellowship in the Beta-Epsilon-Beta chapter of Saddleback College.

During crunch time she can be found at the tutoring center in the library, or meeting with professors during office hours.

“I want students to know there should be no limitations. For them to take advantage of Saddleback’s resources and the tutoring center especially, for things like math and English,” Bautista said.

Bautista’s affinity for education started early in life, going back to her days in middle school.

“All of this really started at my middle school, Shore Cliffs, when I got involved in the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program,” Bautista said. “Basically, it’s for students who don’t have that orientation or what classes to take. All they know is that [they are] determined and want to go to a four-year university.”

Bautista’s commitment to grade school honors programs continues today. She oversees the promotion of honor programs in high schools as project chair through outreach and campus events like club rush.

“As a first generation student, I know it can be challenging to know what steps come next,” Bautista said.

Bautista carries heavy responsibilities, as well as a work load that demands a strong level of time management. Despite these challenges, she does not come off as the hermit book hauler many perceive honor students to be.

She has a sunny disposition on her projects and deals with the stress through admirable positivity.

“Don’t get me wrong, it’s difficult. You have these assignments and I get kinda scared, like ‘I really don’t wanna do this,’’ Bautista said. “So what I do, it’s pretty cheesy, I have this board, and will write stuff out like ‘I can do this…I’m having fun…’ I have to mentally prepare myself.”

Through Daisy’s work we see that higher learning programs aren’t the nightmare that people make them out to be. In fact it’s understandable to hear these acronyms and organizations like HTCC, Phi Theta Kappa, WRHC; only to be turned away by the information over-load. However, these Honors Societies can offer a world of professional opportunities and resources to succeed. Priority registration, exclusive study rooms, special transfer center counseling, smaller classes and enhanced preparation for upper division work are merely a few perks.

“It’s all about action” Bautista said. “You can’t be afraid to make mistakes. It should be normal for you to make mistakes. To have a growth mindset, intelligence and skill are not fixed.”

Bautista will be transferring to UCI, where she will finish her degree in pre-progressive American history, and soon afterwards tackle law school at her choice of Irvine or UCLA.  She wishes to become a public defender, working to represent underprivileged juveniles dealing with the justice system.

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