WATSONVILLE—The Cabrillo College Board of Trustees on Monday unanimously appointed Martha Vega to fill the Area 5 seat left vacant when Felipe Hernandez was elected to the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors.
“I’m grateful,” she said. “I am humbled and I’m honored and I look forward to hearing the voices of everyone.”
A lifelong resident of Watsonville, Vega serves on the Watsonville Planning Commission. She is also active in the Cesar Chavez Democratic Club.
She has been teaching public safety classes for the Career Technical Education program at Pajaro Valley High School.
Vega says she hopes to increase student enrollment at Cabrillo and develop housing for faculty and students.
“I want to find out why students are not enrolling, and what’s going on,” she said. “What’s preventing them from enrolling, and what can we can do to change that.”
She said she will support both students looking to transfer to a four-year university, and those who want to find a vocational career. This would include adding certified apprenticeship programs.
“We all have different paths we want to take, and there is an array of paths here,” she said.
She also wants to remove the college’s cap on the number of times a student can take a course.
She says she wants to support teachers, students and staff, and would look for ways to offer classes to the college’s classified workers.
“Seeing things through different lenses—that’s how I see this position,” she said.
Vega attended Watsonville High and Cabrillo College. She holds a master of arts in leadership through the School of Education from Saint Mary’s College, and a bachelor of arts in human development with a specialization in social change from Pacific Oaks College. In addition, she earned a bachelor of science in criminal justice management from Union Institute and University, and an associate of arts in Spanish, bilingual, bicultural studies and liberal arts degree from Cabrillo College.
She previously worked for Watsonville Police Department as a police services specialist and an administrative analyst, and supervised the records and property division.
She has also served on the Watsonville Library Board of Trustees.
Vega was vying for the position against Manuel Bersamin and Rebecca Garcia, both of whom formerly served on the Watsonville City Council, and both as mayor. She will serve the rest of Hernandez’s term, which expires in 2024.