A Career in Medicine

Spencer EscobarSpencer Escobar’s parents moved to the United States from Guatemala when he was 3. His father found a job driving a truck while his mother stayed home with the children.

During school, Escobar and his brothers wrestled competitively. He also picked up dancing, specifically ballet, which for him was about, “living free in the moment” rather than subduing an opponent (or being subdued) in wrestling. After high school, the wrestler/dancer joined the military.

Over the past six years, Escobar, 28, earned the rank of specialist and learned the ropes of being an Army medic, with plans to leave the military in 2017 to pursue a career in medicine. “The main thing I like about it is helping other people,” Escobar says. “It brings a purpose to your life.”

But military pay, loans and a job as a licensed massage therapist don’t quite cover the tab for a college education.

Escobar turned to his uncle Rolando Ruano for advice. Ruano graduated from Salt Lake Community College in 2015 and is now in law school at the University of Utah. He urged Escobar to devote himself to college. “He was mainly telling me I should do it, that I’m wasting my time otherwise,” Escobar says.

In 2015, Escobar started working on a biology degree at SLCC but was afraid he would not be able to pay the everyday bills like rent and utilities and still afford college. Then came SLCC Promise.

“I was like, ‘Wow, I didn’t know SLCC offered a way to get through school,’” Escobar says. “I’m accepted for something that says I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing.”

His dream is to become a surgeon, like his father-in-law in Guatemala. His wife, Celia, is also attending SLCC and is interested in a career in medicine. Escobar says he would like to practice medicine in the U.S. and do humanitarian work in Guatemala for people who don’t have access to quality medical care.