For Ben Romo, SBCC was the place where he first became excited about getting an education. Today, Ben works for First 5 Santa Barbara County supporting local 0-5 year olds and their families with the goal of getting all children ready for kindergarten.

Who: Ben Romo

Profession: Executive Director, First 5 Santa Barbara County

How long were you at SBCC? 2.5 years

What was your focus while at SBCC? Political Science

Best Memory? When Dr. Manou Eskandari wrote me a letter of recommendation for a court appearance.

How did the SBCC experience influence your professional path? When I got out of high school and started at SBCC, I was an out of control little punk who didn’t want to go to college at all. After one semester at SBCC, I realized what the whole college thing was all about. I was, for the first time, excited about my education. From that point on I got mostly A’s and eventually graduated with honors from Lewis and Clark College. SBCC, its faculty, and its commitment to student success profoundly changed my life and gave me the start I needed to build a meaningful career in government, politics, education, and social service.

What are you doing now? Professionally, I run a government agency that receives revenues from sales taxes on cigarettes, and then invests those dollars to support local 0-5 year olds and their families with the goal of getting all children ready for kindergarten. I also raise my daughter with her amazing mom, Geordie Armstrong, who found her path at SBCC and is now an adjunct professor of Geography at SBCC.

How are you making an impact on the world? Raising a daughter who will be a good person. Working in a career that has a positive impact on other people’s lives.

Why is SBCC an important educational institution for the Santa Barbara community? SBCC offers a path toward success for local students, many of whom lack other options becasue of the increasing cost of higher education. When I was born in 1973, 2/3 of the jobs in the economy required only a high school diploma. Today, most jobs require at least some college. SBCC is a critical source of hope and a path toward a brighter future for local students, our economy, and the entire community.

Are you proud to be a Vaquero Alumni? Heck yes! My daughter also plans to go to SBCC. She brags about planning to go there. She is 9 years old. We are very proud she will be a proud Vaquero, continuing the family tradition, and saving us a boat load of cash.

filed under: