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Meet Kenneth Pilco

Kenneth Pilco's Journey

Kenneth Pilco's transformative journey from a below-average high school student to a celebrated scholar at MiraCosta College is a testament to the power of determination and community support. With a perfect 4.0 GPA and the role of 2023-2024 Student Trustee on the Board of Trustees, Pilco has not only excelled academically but has also become a pillar of leadership and advocacy within his community.

Pilco's early involvement in local environmental and political activities laid the foundation for his passion for community service. During his high school years at Carlsbad, he led beach cleanup initiatives that removed significant amounts of trash from local shorelines. He also participated in political campaigns, which sparked his interest in political science. Reflecting on his early days, Pilco noted, “I wasn’t a strong student in high school. My parents wanted me to get a college degree, but they had come to the United States from Ecuador in the 1990s and weren’t familiar with negotiating the American higher education system.”

Upon enrolling at MiraCosta College in Fall 2022, Pilco found a nurturing environment that helped him realize his potential. "The support I got from the beginning was incredible. Everyone I met here at MiraCosta was really dedicated and that built me up to want to give back to the community," Pilco shared. His commitment to giving back is evident in his leadership within the PUENTE program, an academic community that provides essential support services to students. As PUENTE Club president, Pilco facilitated numerous initiatives, including a Get Out The Vote campaign and campus tours for local elementary students and their families.

Pilco's academic accolades include the prestigious Medal of Academic Merit, MiraCosta College's highest honor, which he received with both shock and pride. “Becoming a Medal of Academic Merit Scholar means that I achieved one of the goals I set out to accomplish from the moment I enrolled at MiraCosta College," Pilco reflected. This recognition is a celebration of his hard work and the positive impact he has made both on and off campus.

In addition to his studies and community activities, Pilco has served as the Legislative Affairs Director for the MiraCosta College Student Government, where he represented the college at the General Assembly for the Student Senate for California Community Colleges. These roles have enhanced his understanding of governance and policy-making, further shaping his aspirations for a career in international relations.

Kenneth Pilco earned his associate degree in Law, Public Policy, and Society from MiraCosta College in May and is set to major in International Relations at Stanford, emphasizing World Trade and International Security.  His acceptance to Stanford is a testament to his hard work and dedication.

“I find it really unbelievable. I think Stanford accepts like 50 or 40 transfer students a year, and it's so much harder to get in as a transfer student,” Pilco said. “I have the opportunity and it's a great opportunity to inspire other people and to show other people that it is possible.”

In addition to Stanford, Kenneth received acceptance offers from several prestigious universities, including the University of California, Berkeley, the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of Southern California. Kenneth credits the PUENTE Program at MiraCosta, which provides counseling and mentoring to help students transfer to four-year universities, for much of his success.

“There’s a lot of bad things going on in the world, and we can only solve them through cooperation,” he remarked, outlining his desire to contribute to global solutions through diplomacy.

Kenneth Pilco's story is one of profound personal growth and commitment to societal betterment, illustrating how education and community support can empower individuals to achieve greatness and inspire others.

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