Assistant Professor, Business and Technology DepartmentWhen Professor Héctor Fernández looks at his students, he sees himself. "My students and I share many similarities,” he says. “Especially those who grew up in the inner city, or even those from other countries - my parents were immigrants." Despite being a smart student, Professor Fernández left school at age 16 to help support his family. "We've had struggles. My mother and I had many difficult episodes. We often cried together," he confesses, "but my mom was my rock."Doorman by day, student by night - this was the life he led for nearly 10 years. Professor Fernández earned his GED and entered Lehman College where he earned a degree in English and Economy. Then, while his peers focused solely on their studies, he continued to work through law school, earning his juris doctorate from the CUNY School of Law in 2002. Eager to open his own firm after passing the National Bar Association exam, Professor Fernández enrolled in a course at the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at LaGuardia Community College. There, he impressed the program director and was soon hired as a business advisor. When an adjunct position opened up in the Department of Business and Technology, he applied. "I gave it a shot and fell in love with being a teacher," he says.Over the next few years, Professor Fernández opened his own law office and became first vice president of residential mortgage at Amalgamated Bank. However, nothing fulfilled him as much as teaching, and in 2008, he took the plunge and became an assistant professor at the College.Since then, Professor Fernández has used his experiences to inspire students, teaching courses in entrepreneurship, business law, and legal research and writing, He is also director of Paralegal Studies, and teaches in the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses and GED Bridge programs. From humble beginnings to Corporate America and back, now Professor Fernández has no plans to leave the classroom. "I get letters from students saying 'thanks for the stories - thanks for the inspiration.' That’s food for the soul."