Emmett Lichtenberg

Emmett Lichtenberg was looking to turn his life around when he moved from his native Illinois to Encinitas. Thanks in large part to MiraCosta College, he’s succeeded.

“MiraCosta is awesome,” Lichtenberg said. “Not only is it a gorgeous campus, but there are so many resources there and everyone is willing to give you their arm and a leg to help out. It’s a very healthy environment.”

Now the once-struggling student is planning to earn an associate degree in communication from the Oceanside Campus before transferring to a four-year university – perhaps San Diego State, he says – en route to a career in radio or television broadcasting.

Lichtenberg, 25, left the Chicago suburb of Naperville when he was 18 to move in with an aunt in coastal North County. As he tells it, Lichtenberg, who was adopted, wasn’t much of a student. “I’m like the only Asian who sucks at math,” he joked. “I was just not very good in school.”

After graduating from high school here, he went to work at Encinitas Ford. A couple years ago, he says he came to the realization he needed a change in life. “I just got to the point where I decided to go back to school.”

Lichtenberg says he started off slow, working full-time while taking a couple classes, including a course in college success skills. He became a full-time student in the fall of 2012. His GPA is a respectable 3.2.

“I just decided to start over, and now I’m succeeding at school,” he said. “But I’ve had a lot of support. The professors are willing to help, and the Financial Aid Office is incredible. There was all kinds of paperwork I had to fill out and I had no idea what I was doing, but they guided me all along. They were very patient and very helpful.”