Student Spotlight: Guillermo Cabanellas

Breaking Barriers with Guillermo Cabanellas

 Guillermo is smiling and stands outside on Mesa campus

Welcome to the Student Spotlight series, where we showcase the journeys and achievements of San Diego Community College students who have navigated higher education with the support of the Disability Support Programs and Services. In this edition, we introduce you to Guillermo Cabanellas, a dedicated student who has studied at all of SDCCD’s credit colleges, including City, Mesa, and Miramar, as well as the College of Continuing Education.

Staying on Track

With some collegiate experience under his belt, Cabanellas embarked on his academic journey at SDCCD in 2022, initially choosing Geographic Information Technology as a field of study before changing his major to Health Information Technology. 

"I decided to pursue higher education to better myself and earn a decent salary while serving the community," said Cabanellas, who expects to complete his studies in Spring 2024.

As a student with ASD, ADHD, and visual and neurological disabilities, Cabanellas’ college life is impacted by difficulties with focus, integrating information, and processing it effectively.

“It’s easy to get disorganized and fail,” he said.

Fortunately, the support and assistance provided by DSPS and other student services helps Cabanellas stay on track. He highlighted the role of DSPS accommodations and counselors (specifically Elizabeth Wilke) who have been instrumental in supporting and enhancing his educational experience and success. 

“Thanks to the support of so many people, organizations, and institutions, in the summer term I was able to take 12 units with a 4.0 GPA. This Fall 2023 term, I am expecting to complete 30 units with a 4.0 GPA and qualify for several scholarships.”

Finding Inspiration

When reflecting on how his story fits into a civil rights context, Cabanellas expressed hopes for legislative advancement “to support inclusion, representation, and disability justice by identifying us at the federal level” in order to “receive protection and immunity against police and other individuals that in any way want to take advantage of our disabilities.”

Outside the classroom, Cabanellas enjoys a diverse range of interests, including surfing, electric vehicles, and global markets. He finds inspiration in the entrepreneurial leadership and visionary thinking of individuals such as Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Steve Jobs and hopes to own his own company someday – one that serves the community.

At DSPS, we look forward to watching his entrepreneurial and philanthropic goals merge and manifest! Thank you, Guillermo, for sharing your story and illustrating how, with determination and support, anything is possible!

Student Spotlights, presented by Disability Support Programs and Services, feature success stories from ambitious SDCCD students and alumni whose participation in DSPS has helped them reach meaningful education and/or employment goals.