> Home > Alumni Organization > Improving Transfer Success > Mancillas

Hartnell College Alumni Success Stories

Oscar Mancillas - Instructor

Oscar Mancillas was born and raised in Salinas. On July 2, 2009, he came back from San Francisco, where he teaches Physics to 8th graders, to give a talk to the students of the Hartnell Summer Workplace Readiness Program. “Do not underestimate Hartnell College and where it can take you” says Oscar in the beginning of his speech. “If you look at the person next to you they might be doing the same talk in a couple of years”.

After Oscar graduated high school he told his family that he wanted to go to college. The response was not very encouraging. “Son, I cannot afford college, you need to become a man before going to college” said Oscar’s dad. So Oscar started working in the fields, working 100 hour weeks. He worked there for six years and finally he had enough and came to Hartnell to become a radiologist. After taking a chemistry class, Oscar realized his passion for science and decided to reach out for help. He sought advice from one of the counselors at Hartnell, Dr. Ignacio Pando. “I went to Dr. Pando and said:  I want to get to the top. I don’t want to be a mechanic. I don’t want to just get an AA. I want to be a doctor. I want to be a leader.” Dr. Pando helped Oscar obtain information about several universities in the area; their programs and scholarships. Oscar graduated from Hartnell with honors and was accepted to UC Berkeley where he received several scholarships.

Being in Berkeley was hard. In addition to the demanding curriculum, Oscar had to overcome the obstacles of financial hardships and being away from his family, away from his girlfriend who was pregnant with their first daughter. Daisy was born in the middle of his first semester finals and he failed every one of his classes. He was told he was going to get kicked out unless he got a 4.0 GPA the next semester. And he did it – he did what he had to do to get out of probation. Oscar is now studying for the Graduate Record Examination test and applying to the top 10 schools. After the completion of his graduate degree in Biochemistry he wants to come back to Salinas and teach at Hartnell. His dream is to produce more scientists and inspire more students, the ones who do not yet see the potential of what they can become. Oscar’s final advice for students is “If you want to get where you want to go, you have to get out of your comfort zone and you have to ask for help”.