Eric Manzanares

Occupation: Capital Market Associate at Orinda Asset Management (AppsFlyer)
SRA graduate Eric Manzanares exemplifies what students can accomplish with the right support. He grew up with teenage parents, and was following the footsteps of many of his peers, most who are now incarcerated or have passed away due to community violence. Eric hit a point in his life where he realized he needed to choose a different path. Eric’s SRA Advisor is an SRA alum and understands the tug-of- war between family and school. She helped Eric see the longer-term benefits of college, and in 2013, he enrolled at UC Merced as an Economics major.

Despite having been a talented student throughout his life, Eric, like many first-generation college students, found the transition to college difficult. Struggling in his classes, together with feeling like he needed to be home for his family, made him feel unfit for college. The stress made it hard to study. Again, Eric’s advisor discussed the bigger picture with him, while SRA connections helped his mother become a legal guardian for her nieces and nephews so that she’d be eligible for state and county benefits.

“My advisor was a second mom in this whole journey,” says Eric. “I could go to her at any time I needed her, but without judgement. My advisor was that one person that I could be completely vulnerable and express myself with.”

Eric regained his academic momentum. Eric diligently attended every SRA Career Readiness Workshop and Career Exploration event that he could, including a June 2017 Career Insight Event at Goldman Sachs. SRA provided Eric with professional attire and helped him secure two paid internships at the California Public Utilities Commission—one in the Administrative Law Judge Division and another the next year in Office of CPUC President Piker—and then another internship at Wells Fargo in the Corporate Risk Department.

In June 2017, Eric graduated from UC Merced and worked with SRA’s Career Development Department to find a job in the financial industry sector. Today he’s a Capital Market Associate at Orinda Asset Management. Students Rising Above could not be prouder of this young man and his bright future!