Margaret D. Villegas, a 75-year-old grandmother, will graduate Tuesday after completing a 90-hour technician training program through the Center for the Advancement of Nanotechnology in San Bernardino.
The San Bernardino resident describes herself as a life-long learner. She decided to sign up for the nanotechnology program after a friend mentioned it to her.
“I don’t believe age is a number,” Villegas said. “Your brain is the last thing to age. You can keep learning and learning. I believe it keeps you younger.”
Villegas said she has no background in the hard sciences, but she was interested to learn how nanotechnology has been able to make scientific devices cheaper and smaller, using new materials.
In 1973 Villegas graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with a degree in social services and later studied deviant behavior at Pitzer College. She worked as a counselor for a number of community organizations in San Bernardino, leading support groups for battered women, recovering alcoholics, drug addicts, former gang members and recent parolees. Villegas is a widow who raised four children and has seven grandchildren.
An avid reader with unbounded curiosity, Villegas is a strong educational advocate who believes in contributing to society. She speaks Spanish fluently and is currently learning Hebrew.
She brought her 18-year-old grandson, Gabriel Yahmel, to some of the nanotechnology classes, hoping it would inspire him to pursue nanotechnology as a career path. Instead, she was the one who developed a passion and curiosity for all things nano. She is pursuing some job leads in San Diego and Irvine. Born in 1936, Villegas has worked since she was 13, and says she plans to do so for the rest of her life.
“I don’t believe in retiring,” she said. “I love to learn.”
The Nanotechnology Technician’s Training Program is divided into six 15-hour courses, covering the following topics: electronic devices, micro/nano fabrication, optoelectronic devices, nano characterization, device characterization and materials characterization. The program is offered through the Center for the Advancement of Nanotechnology, within the San Bernardino Community College District.
More info: www.attctraining.org