msac. pix.walnut hs.2 (1)

Fresh faces join Mustang family: Steve Valenzuela

When asked what his first impression of Steve Valenzuela was, instructional dean Nelson Chen simply responded, “a good man with a good heart.”

Valenzuela’s background doesn’t betray Chen’s sentiment. Before becoming an adjunct professor for Mount San Antonio College (Mt. SAC), Valenzuela served 40 years in the Los Angeles County Fire Department. Working as a firefighter, paramedic and eventually, a fire captain, he familiarized himself with being involved in emergency situations, as well as acting as a mentor. In addition, he also gained military experience in the United States Air Force that allowed him to specialize in both aircraft and special rescue.

Valenzuela wanted to find an outlet to share his experiences and stories in an effort to teach the younger generations. With his expertise in fire service, he decided to teach Fire Science at Mount San Antonio College. By continuing to teach classes revolving around public service, Valenzuela hopes to inform students of available opportunities in the fire departments, inspire them to participate in community service and ultimately, mentor them throughout the process.

Walnut High School students showed interest in a Fire Technology course. When Chen reached out to find the right person for the job, Chen was introduced to Valenzuela. After reviewing Valenzuela’s resume, Chen decided that Valenzuela would be the perfect person in teaching the course. Now, Valenzuela teaches both high school and college students through Walnut High School and Mt. Sac’s dual enrollment partnership.

“He cares about giving back to the community, and making sure students are inspired to make good choices,” Chen said. “He displays great patience and understanding, and communicates well with adults. He is trustworthy and dedicated to teaching.”

By Andrew Kim, Copy Editor-in-chief
Photo courtesy of Nelson Chen