Marcus García
Photo Courtesy Anchored Memory Photography

Las Vegas, N.M. – Highlands University graduate and second-year doctor of pharmacy student Marcus García said his most important mentor is Highlands President Sam Minner.

“Dr. Minner has provided me with valuable insight on my career goals and helps keep me motivated,” García said. “He has given me added inspiration to always work hard and to give back to others in any capacity possible, especially those who are less fortunate.”

García, a 28-year-old year-old from Las Vegas, New Mexico, was serving in the student senate at Highlands when he met Minner in 2015.

“Dr. Minner and his wife Joan had a dinner at their home for student government leaders. He listened to our aspirations including mine of pursuing doctoral studies. He was interested that I was a first-generation college student because he is too. He offered to help me in whatever way he could, from looking at programs to helping me write my letters of interest.”

García said it meant the world to him that the university president cared so much and would give this kind of one-on-one guidance to a student.

“You can tell that Dr. Minner has a passion for higher education. To this day, he contacts me to see how I’m doing and to offer encouragement. I’ll always be grateful,” García said.

“Over my career, I’ve picked a small number of students and asked if they’d be interested in mentoring,” Minner said. “Marcus is a local student who has faced many challenges in his life and overcome them through hard work, which is admirable. I was struck by his strong commitment to doing professional work that would improve the lives of others.

“Marcus is a person of very high integrity and selflessness. I’ve enjoyed working with both him and his wife Stephanie Santillanes, another Highlands graduate. They’re both delightful,” Minner said.

Minner said mentoring students is one of the hallmarks of Highlands.

“What we do at Highlands is not only provide quality academic programs to our students, we go several layers deeper to offer professional and personal mentoring to help our students achieve their dreams,” Minner said.

García earned his master’s degree in human performance and sport from Highlands in 2015 and his bachelor’s degree in biology with a minor in chemistry in 2013. He started his four-year doctor of pharmacy studies at the University of New Mexico in July 2016.

García is in his second year of a paid research fellowship at UNM and is the treasurer of the Student Pharmacist Research Interest Group.

“At UNM I am working with Dr. Matt Campen looking at environmental pollutants and how they affect uterine development,” García said.