From field to clinic


Dana Goodard

Lopez smiles for her love for vet veterinary care.

Every student at LMC hopes to move on in their lives after LMC and do something they love. In the case of Michelle Lopez, she is doing just that.
Michelle came to LMC after one semester at UC Berkley where she realized she wasn’t quite sure what she wanted to do with her life yet.
What she did know was that LMC was much closer to home, and that she knew the campus after having taken acting courses during her high school career. The other draw to LMC was the ability to do what she has loved since she was four years old, play soccer, despite her petite stature.
“I really didn’t think she would be able to help the team much because she was very small and frail in stature,” said Soccer Head Coach Mark Bryant who explained how she changed his first impression. “She always surprised me by how tough and resilient she could be for such a small girl.”
What Bryant may not have known was that Lopez started playing soccer year round in middle school, and made varsity at Antioch High School in her sophomore year. He did not realize he had come across one of the hardest workers he would ever coach.
He also couldn’t have known she would end up being, what he called “a silent leader that lets her actions and attitude inspire others.” He did not know any of that when she walked on his field, but he sure was happy to find all of that out first hand.
While soccer was Lopez’ first love, it’s only part of what made her a successful LMC student.
“Michelle was a bit of a nerd,” said Lopez’ sister, Jennifer. “School came easy for her, and she did a lot of after-school activities, and still had time to hang out with friends.”
It is that nerdiness that helped lead her to one of the highest honors a community college student athlete can receive, the California Community College Athletic Association’s Women’s Scholar Athlete Award for 2010, an award Lopez still feels honored to have received.
“I was picked over all the women in community college sports at that time,” she said. “I was told by one admissions officer that an award like that, or any team recognition, shows the reviewers that you are able to be dedicated to something, work hard at it and work as a team.”
That award and her time at LMC got Lopez into Cal State Long Beach where she earned her B.S. in Physiology. She also attributes her time at LMC to helping her get into Michigan State University where she’s currently studying to become a doctor of Veterinary Medicine.
Her little sister Jennifer Lopez is not at all surprised she is studying medicine.
“I never thought Michelle would become a vet but I knew she would want to do something medical,” she said of her sister. “When one of us would get hurt she always knew what to do. With four kids in the house it happened a lot.”
With two younger brothers and two younger sisters, Lopez had a lot of people she could help take care of. A big family like that could be hard on the eldest sibling, but Lopez loved growing up with such a big family in Antioch.
“Holidays get crazy, but I love my kooky family,” she said.
To most, that many people could drive them crazy, but it drove Lopez to work harder.
She ran track, performed in plays, and of course, played soccer in high school, and no matter what he was doing she could always being found with a book nearby. And that is where you can still find her now.
Lopez is now nearly 2,000 miles away from her family as she studies in Michigan, but she still keeps in touch with her family. And she still plays soccer on an MSU intramural team. Now that she’s in a colder climate, she judges the weather based on if it’s a good day to play soccer.
She is still the same “small and fragile” young woman that Bryant remembers from when she first stepped in front of him at LMC. The only difference is that now she wears a lab coat as a student representative for a pharmaceutical company, and works booths at local fairs where she educates children on how cool veterinary medicine is.
She credits the college for putting her on her current career path.  “I think my time with LMC soccer helped me get into Michigan State’s Veterinary College.”
She has not changed much since her early years at LMC, but she said if it wasn’t for LMC, she wouldn’t be where she is today, doing something with her life that makes her happy.