This year's incoming students come to Saint Mary's with an eclectic mix of interests and reasons for choosing the College.
Take Marquez Butilla of Hayward, who's entering the 3+2 Engineering Program to pursue his passion for robotics. Or Kayla Riley of Sacramento, for whom Saint Mary's is the first step on the road to law school. Tomas Rodriguez of El Cerrito chose SMC's Integral Program so he could teach his favorite subjects, Greek and Latin. And Scott Milne of Discovery Bay is pursuing a double major in business and music. He's already in three bands and says he wants to be "the drummer and the manager."
Here are some of our other new students' reasons for choosing SMC:
James Lee of Palos Verdes, a business administration major
"At first I wanted to go to a school in San Francisco or New York City, but then I went to San Francisco. It's so crowded. Here, if you want to go to the city, it's just 40 minutes by BART, and you can come back to this nice atmosphere."
Jennifer Tolcher of Westlake Village, is majoring in health sciences and wants to go into medicine. She chose SMC partly because its graduates have a 100 percent acceptance rate for medical school.
"I like the small-school feel."
Kayla Riley of Sacramento, an economics major, plans to go to law school and has already participated in moot court at the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law.
"I like the 4-1-4 model and Seminar, plus Jan Term and the opportunity to study abroad. Saint Mary's is a good place to learn critical thinking skills."
Michelle Carrillo of Los Angeles, a psychology major, already knew about Saint Mary's because her sister, Ashley, is a sophomore political science major here.
"I wanted to go to a private Catholic college with smaller classes, like my high school."
Kirk Mon of Windsor, an economics major, also has a family connection. His sister, Melissa Mon, is a senior studying health sciences.
"I like the area, and I like that it's smaller than other colleges."
Andrea Valle of San Pablo, an Integral Program major, is interested in liberal arts and teaching. For her, a big factor was the economy and cutbacks at public schools.
"I decided it would be easier to go here and graduate in four years than to go to a public college and take five years."
Liliana Campos of Pinole is Andrea's roommate and longtime friend.
"I thought about going to a community college, but my mom said I should take this opportunity now."
Madeleine Tevelde of Modesto, a sophomore biology major, transferred from Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, where she found it hard to get the classes she needed.
Cal Poly has been "very impacted" by the state budget cuts, she said. Plus: "I like the closer relationship between students and teachers."
John Rosa of San Rafael, a sophomore business major, transferred from Sonoma State.
"There's a lot more money flowing through the school, and it was easier to get the courses I wanted. Also, as a lacrosse player, I'm excited about the new turf for the lacrosse field."
Chase Webb of Erie, Colorado, is majoring in biochemistry and computer science.
"I want to be a medical researcher. I see it as a chance to bring a new face and a new mind to the field, maybe discover a cure or improve a medical treatment and basically help people. I like that it's a traditional college experience, a Christian education and a setting that's small enough to know everybody but big enough to see new faces."