College of Applied Sciences and Arts
Why did you choose your major?
I always told people that Health Science chose me. I was a college sophomore who was not happy with the major I was in. One day, I was flipping through the SJSU catalog looking for a major that would interest me. As I reached over to grab something, I knocked the catalog down and it flipped open to Health Science. I read about the major and the classes offered, and I was instantly captivated. I felt that this major would teach me how to help people in a health care setting, without having to be a clinician. I chose to concentrate in Health Services Adminstration because I have always been interested in topics such as, Managed Care Organizations and Health Care Economics. After attending my first Health Science reunion, I saw how friendly students, staff, and professors were with each other and I knew I made the right decision. I not only had a new major, but a new family.
What does receiving this particular award mean to you?
This is probably one of the biggest honors I have ever received in my academic career. It is humbling to know that all my efforts, hard work, and perseverance are being recognized. It is also important for me that my family and friends feel as honored as I am about receiving this award because I would not have been able to get to this point without them.
Who has been instrumental in your life and/or who has contributed to your academic
There are so many people that have helped me in my life and collegiate career, but there are certain individuals that have helped me tremendously. My parents have always supported me (even though they have never heard of my major until I declared it) and have been the epitome of perseverance. My brother has always been a credible source of information and has always given me great advice about my academic career. Another important person that has contributed to my academic success is my fiancé. She has always been a beacon of support and most importantly, keeps me level-headed. I have always been motivated to do well academically, but since my daughter was born I have been more motivated than I have ever been before. Last, but not least, Dr. Kathleen Roe. Dr. Roe’s enthusiasm when teaching Community Health Promotion was contagious and it reinforced my love for Health Science. She taught me theories and lessons that I will use for the rest of my career. She saw potential in me that I did not know I had. She has given me opportunities that have shaped my academic and professional career.
Did you overcome any hardships or adversities during your life, that has helped shape
who you are today? And if so, could you please briefly elaborate?
In my first year and a half at San Jose State I struggled academically. I was not accustomed to the workload and felt overwhelmed. This was a foreign feeling to me. I started to worry that I would not have the grades to stay competitive when applying to graduate school. I took some time to reflect what I needed to change and I came to the conclusion that I was not exerting enough effort or time into my studies. There were some sacrifices that I had to make, but the outcome was well worth it. This experience has taught me that it is never too late to better oneself and that perseverance pays off.
What would you say to other students to encourage or inspire them to attain academic excellence?
My advice would be to take your time in finding a major that you are really interested in. If you enjoy your classes, then studying for them will come naturally. I know this is the reason why I was able to do well academically because I loved what I was learning. Don’t rush into a major because you are being pressured into a career that is “stable” (I know this feeling from personal experience) because it will make going to school and working on class assignments feel like a chore.
Where would you like to be in 5-10 years?
In 5 to 10 years, I hope to have graduated from a graduate program in Information System. I plan to have a career as a consultant or a system administrator working with Electronic Health Records at community clinics and other health organizations. I really enjoy working in this field because it gives me the chance to help people. I feel that proper and efficient retrieval and distribution of patient information could increase the quality of care patients receive.
A few words from his nominating professor:
Mark is a young man who did it all while at SJSU - in addition to achieving the grades that would earn him President's Scholar distinction, he also was a founding co-president of the Health Science Department's first public health honor society, an excellent peer teaching assistant, a student leader in the community, and a generous volunteer on countless activities in our community partnership Salud Familiar en McKinley. And if that wasn't enough, Mark became a first time father during his last year at SJSU! Through it all, he kept his eyes on the prize, learning to balance each new role and responsibility with his characteristic smile and accomplishment. HIs actions speak for his heart and intelligence. As we say in Health Science, Mark always "makes choices that matter."
-Professor Kathleen Roe