Spotlight Series: Jonathan Guillen

December 11, 2018

Public Relations

Palo Alto College's annual scholarship fundraiser, ¡Una Nueva Celebración!, raised over $1,000,000 in committed funds to directly support students, faculty, and staff in continuing their education. The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) gave five full-ride scholarships (tuition, room, and board) for Palo Alto College students to attend UTRGV upon completing their associate degrees. Jonathan Guillen was selected as one of the scholarship recipients.

Jonathan Guillen quit his job in construction to take a chance and further his education. He firmly believes that taking chances brings success, and he knew that going back to school would provide him with many opportunities.

"Education opens up more doors. It's really important," said Guillen. "Depending on the industry you're going into, you start meeting people. It allows you to reach out further than you would just on your own."

A Southside High School graduate, Guillen started working in construction after high school to save money for college. He knew hard labor was not what he was meant to do with his life. Guillen was involved in theatre in high school, and he never forgot his dream of acting and making films. He wants to entertain people through his films, creating a world that will allow people to escape their realities for a couple hours.

"I eventually want to be on a silver screen [making] movies," said Guillen. "I want people to sit there for two hours and just forget about whatever's going on in their life, and just enjoy."

Though he is just wrapping up his first semester in college, Guillen is already impressed by the quality instruction he has received from his instructors in Palo Alto College's Fine and Performing Arts Department. They have guided him through his college journey and helped him grow by encouraging him to reach his full potential.

"The professors here are cooperative and treat you like a person rather than just another student," he said. "They've taught me patience... to think further, to think extraordinarily because everyone has that capability. It's just a matter of putting in the work."

Guillen said he has already had a lot of fun at Palo Alto College, and he looks forward to finishing his associate degree before moving on to UTRGV. He is learning that anything is possible, and he is convinced that his chance-taking mindset will pay off.

"I really just want to make movies for a living and enjoy doing it," said Guillen. "I know it's a hard industry to get into, but this scholarship just proves that anything can actually happen."

UTRGV committed $815,000 in total to support the five full-ride UTRGV scholarships for graduating PAC students – Ellen GalindoTaylor PonceEmily Harmon, Jonathan Guillen, and Gabino Olalde –  while also committing 150 scholarships for employees to use toward their master's and doctoral degrees from UTRGV, funding for five research assistantships, and an additional $25,000 donation to the general PAC Scholarship Fund to support students currently attending Palo Alto College.

Funding provided through valuable partnerships, such as with UTRGV, provides scholarships to help Palo Alto College students attain their educational goals. The Alamo Colleges Foundation facilitates over 40 scholarship opportunities, which students attending Palo Alto College or anywhere in the Alamo Colleges District can apply for with a single application. The 2019 scholarship application will open on Jan. 7, 2019. To learn more, visit