Jonathan Carvajal 

My community on campus is found in my fellow STEM students. Whether in my science-related classes or as part of STEM Club, it is always nice to see and hear from other people who share a love of science and many of the same interests I do.

Jonathan Carvajal poses for picture inside a YVC Academic build


Degree/Certificate & Class Year 
Associate of Computer Science, 2024 

Yakima, Wash. 

Extra Curriculars (E.G., Clubs, YVC Sports Teams) 
STEM Club, Computer Science & IT Club, Climbing Club, Phi Theta Kappa 

What three words would you use to describe YVC? 
Smart, Friendly, Inclusive 

What’s your favorite class? Why? How has it expanded your knowledge? 
Java Programming has been one of my favorite classes here at YVC. I love computer science and I enjoy learning new programming languages, and this course took me from only knowing a tiny bit about Java to being able to fully program and arrange different types of objects in different windows. 

Who is your mentor on campus? Why do you consider this person your mentor? 
One of the people I would consider a mentor at YVC is Cristy Rasmussen [STEM Director]. From helping and encouraging me to become a STEM Club officer to the many resources she has informed me about, she has helped me find opportunities and a community here at YVC that I likely wouldn’t have found otherwise. 

What made you want to come to YVC? 
I wanted more challenging academic opportunities than high school could offer me, which is why I chose to do the Running Start program at YVC. Through this dual enrollment program, I can complete an associate degree in my last two years of high school to get ahead in my college education. 

How did you decide on a major? 
I have always loved science and technology, and I was introduced to programming when I was 10 or 11. I loved the problem-solving and the awesome feeling of getting things to work, and I was inspired by seeing what others were able to accomplish. These made me want to pursue a future in computer programming, which led me to the computer science major here at YVC. 
Are there any barriers that you’ve overcome to be successful at YVC? Please describe. 
As someone who puts a lot of expectations on myself and endeavors to do really well in school, I can sometimes overwork myself and elect to ignore other aspects of my life to study. This leads to wearing myself out, particularly my mental health, and ends up hurting me in the long run. To combat this, I’ve learned that I have to balance my life and my studying to make sure I don’t wear myself out so that I can continue my studies and achieve my long-term goals. 
What do you like or find most interesting about your major? 
What I like most about computer science is seeing the love and creativity that is shown in people’s projects and ideas: whether it is a video game that they have always dreamed of making or a software program that is used to help their community. The sea of possibilities that technology offers us is fascinating, and I love creating and seeing others create things that utilize this potential. 

Where do you find your community on campus? 
My community on campus is found in my fellow STEM students. Whether in my science-related classes or as part of STEM Club, it is always nice to see and hear from other people who share a love of science and many of the same interests I do. 

What advice do you have for prospective students? 
When you get here to YVC, join a club! Clubs are one of the best ways I have grown a sense of community with my fellow students and found out about resources that are available to help me. There are plenty of different clubs each year to choose from, from STEM (my personal favorite) to ASL to Automotive, so there is bound to be somewhere you can find your community. 

What’s your favorite spot-on campus? 
My favorite spot is the STEM/MESA room in Glenn Anthon Hall. There are always at least a few of my fellow STEM students and friends hanging out, and I love spending time in there either studying or having fun chatting in between classes. It is also useful for when I have questions or for when someone needs a math problem explained and I can either help them or direct them to the Tutoring Center. 
How has Yakima Valley College changed you? 
As a student who was homeschooled my entire life, I had many opportunities that other students didn’t, but I also had a difficult time in social situations and didn’t have many friends. Through the classes and situations I experienced at YVC, my comfort zone was stretched and I established friendly and meaningful connections with instructors and my peers, most of whom I never would have interacted with on my own before. Activities like YVC clubs and student government have helped me build my confidence and communication skills, which will help me better represent and express myself in future situations. 

How do you manage stress? 
One way I manage stress is to try and break up large groups of assignments I have due each week into smaller chunks that seem manageable for each day, rather than trying to get all of them done exactly the day they are due. Another way is taking breaks regularly to give my brain some time to rest and make sure I don’t burn out. 

Do you have a job? How do you work that into your schedule? 
Currently, I don’t have a regular job. My main focus is my studies, but I work off and on for my dad’s company when I have extra time. 

What do you view is your biggest achievement at YVC? 
I think my biggest achievement at YVC has been making the President’s List Honor Roll every quarter so far. I have put a lot of work into maintaining all A’s in my classes, and I’m proud of the fact that I’ve been able to accomplish that while being a high schooler.

What is your ultimate goal? Where would you like to end up? 
Once I finish my associate in computer science, I plan to transfer to a 4-year university to complete a bachelor’s and perhaps even a master’s in computer science or software engineering. I want to pursue a career in software engineering and I hope to work for a company that uses technology to help improve people’s lives. 

Interested in getting started at YVC? Visit our admissions page or request information.