He’s confident, well spoken, dressed to impress, and moving forward to his destiny with every step. When you meet De’shawn Woolridge, you realize right away that you’ve met someone actively engaged in every day, making the most of opportunities that come his way. If there’s a lull in his life, he seeks out engaging involvement to move forward with his future.
Evidence that De’shawn takes his college studies seriously is undeniable. He has completed and graduated this an Associate of Science Degree in Administration of Justice from Los Medanos College (LMC), plus another Associate of Science Degree in Political Science from Diablo Valley College (DVC).
An Oakland native, De’shawn graduated from Pittsburg High School as a very determined, focused man a year earlier than the rest of his class. College was always the next step, but he hadn’t applied to a four-year school for the following fall in time to get accepted. Los Medanos College was the most convenient and closest choice, and it allowed for last-minute applications, so he signed up.
Once De’shawn Woolridge started attending classes at LMC, he decided he was going to make the most of his time at the community college. A natural leader, he became involved with student government, including a year as president and during 2010/11, as an at-large senator for the statewide student government organization.
As a disabled student, De’shawn sought out support from the DSPS (Disabled Students Programs & Services) counselors. College had its challenges for him as he can’t remember things easily, can’t take multiple-choice tests, and when really stressed, starts to stutter. But those challenges didn’t slow De’shawn down. His DSPS counselor provided De’shawn with the tools to succeed.
De’shawn was also quite involved in the LMC Honors Program. “Honors gave me the motivation to want to do the work to be a part of it. You have to do the work or you can’t be in Honors. When I came here, Honors was the first thing I wanted to join here at LMC. It required me to maintain a grade point average, plus I met people who are goal-focused and very determined. With Honors, I fed off this energy, thinking ‘If he’s doing it, I can do it!’”
Various people supported De’shawn in his studies and campus life, but they also pushed him into seeking and finding his own solutions. “I was empowered to find the answer to questions”, explained De’shawn. Mentors included David Belman, Director of LMC’s Student Life Office and Advisor for LMCAS, LMC’s student government. “Dave was always there, a constant face. He offered advice but he also challenged me.”
LMC’s former president, Peter Garcia (now DVC’s President) also was an important mentor for De’shawn. “I always looked forward to my meetings with President Garcia when I was the president of LMCAS. He always expressed interest in me, asked what was going on with me. He genuinely cares about students”.
President Garcia enjoyed working with De’shawn and feels that De’shawn has made a positive impact on the campus. “Over the past few years, I have been impressed with De'Shawn's commitment to student leadership and his energy around improving student success for first-generation, first-time students. He is tireless, almost at too high a cost to himself, in his efforts to make LMC a welcoming, effective, and just college for all students.”
De’shawn has always been planning to transfer, hoping to eventually go to law school. But he feels he’s sometimes strayed from that focus. “I perhaps should have stayed on my transfer path, but if I’d stayed on it, I wouldn’t be at the state level of student government now. I feel I could have transferred earlier. I’ve been in political sciences all my life, but the question is: would I have been more successful if I’d finished community college more quickly?”
De’shawn has completed his bachelor's degree in political science at the University of the Pacific, has already been actively involved with public service by participating on several community committees and recently ran for public office.