Meet Nick Gulino

Born and raised in Encinitas during the height of the opioid epidemic, addiction was an ever-present factor in MiraCosta College alum Nick Gulino’s community.

Multiple friends lost their lives to overdose when he was just a teenager and countless other peers and family members spent years in and out of rehab. As a result, Gulino’s own childhood was fraught with challenges.

Despite being a voracious reader, Gulino never seemed to succeed academically. He was known to act out in middle school and as a freshman at San Dieguito High School Academy, he failed more classes than he passed. When he was sent to a continuation high school, commonly known as a “last chance high school,” few would have predicted what came next except for Gulino.

“There have been so many points in my life where it would have been easy for me to get derailed,” recalled Gulino, now a law school graduate and founder of his own company. “I have been very fortunate in my life to have people in my corner; otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to do much of what I’ve done.”

While attending the continuation high school, Gulino found himself in an environment that helped him thrive. He was able to develop his own working style and quickly turned his grades around. Soon after, Gulino set his sights on MiraCosta College.

“I heard of MiraCosta College through my high school guidance counselor but didn’t fully know what to expect as a full-time student,” shared Gulino. “I still remember walking into one of my first classes at MiraCosta College and being intimidated.”

Gulino had never experienced a lecture-style class and was still learning many of the basics in the classroom. But like he did at his continuation school, Gulino quickly adapted.

 “That first semester was really about process development for me—how to take notes, how to be in a classroom setting, how to navigate college,'' commented Gulino.

Within months, Gulino settled in on campus and quickly established himself as one of the top students in his class. He became president of the Associated Student Government and also made time to help his community as a support group leader for kids at his previous high school.

“I just feel incredibly grateful that I was able to start at MiraCosta College,” explained Gulino. “Growing up in the area, I always knew of the school, but I never realized how good the college was until experiencing it firsthand. It provided me exactly what I needed at the time.”

Never one to stop growing, Gulino set out to accomplish another academic goal when he transferred to the University of California, Berkeley to major in rhetoric. At Berkeley, Gulino flourished and would go on to graduate with honors while also completing multiple internships and fellowships at the White House and State Department.

Gulino wasn’t done there. Gulino applied to and was accepted at Yale Law School. He continued his work with government agencies and found himself on the policy end of the addiction issue that he knew all too well as a child. That’s when he felt the gravitational pull of home.

After he left for college, Gulino’s friends and family still struggled with addiction, and he saw for himself how poor their treatment was when seeking help. He knew he had to act.

“I saw a gap that my community needed to be filled and decided to do something about it,” shared Gulino. “The state of addiction treatment in this country is bad and has grown worse because of the pandemic.”

Along with a fellow classmate from Yale, Gulino founded Recover, a company committed to fighting addiction through effective and affordable telemedicine treatment.

“You solve the problems you know,” shared Gulino. “I’ve witnessed the addiction problem for a very long time, with many people around me going in and out of rehab and treatment. I know how flawed the system can be.”

Today, Gulino is proud to be working on an issue that hits close to home. He is quick to attribute his success to the early struggles he experienced and the many people who believed in him during those early years.

 “I know my life may seem linear when looking at it now,” said Gulino, “but I wouldn’t be here without the support of so many people at MiraCosta and others along the way.”