Health and safety technician
Eduardo Torres Vargas is a perfect example of why people shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.
At 25 years old, he was tasked with training farmworkers on new safety procedures and regulations. But his audience consisted of employees who’d been working in the fields longer than he’d been alive and those who had kids near his age. There was also the perception that because he came from the front office, that he grew up with money.
In truth, Eduardo grew up in Lost Hills, which had a population of about 2,000, and his dad took him out to the fields to work when he was 5. The second youngest of seven children, he paid for his own education by working various jobs and applying for scholarships.
When the farmworkers realized that Eduardo was the same as them – that he worked hard to get to where he is – he began earning their trust and respect.
“I didn’t grow up rich,” he said. “I didn’t grow up with people giving me everything. I had to earn everything.”
Eduardo knew early on that working in the fields wasn’t for him and that education was the path to a better life. The experience he had at CSU Bakersfield and the numerous mentors who’ve helped him excel and grow is something he wants to pass on to others.
Eduardo is involved with Prospanica, which empowers and enables Hispanic professionals to achieve their full educational, economic and social potential, and the Runner Alumni Mentorship Program, which pairs CSUB students with CSUB alumni working in the students’ fields of study – a program started by Eduardo’s wife, Nancy.
“I haven’t gotten to where I’ve gotten to by myself,” Eduardo said. “There have been mentors and people that have helped to get me to where I am now. The biggest thing I want to leave behind is that people have helped you, now it’s your responsibility to help.”