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Cesar Vega

Assistant City Solicitor | City of Worcester Law Department

As a high school drop-out and a teen father, Cesar Vega, of Leominster, wasn’t sure what his future held. He initially enrolled at Quinsigamond Community College to fulfill requirements he needed to enlist in the military, but was then motivated to finish an associate’s degree in criminal justice.

“It was very encouraging for me to meet professors at Quinsig, like Sandra England, Nancy Donohue-Berthiaume, Dagne Yesihak, Bill McCarthy and Frank Cameron, who were committed to helping me succeed academically. I can’t thank them enough for challenging me to think bigger, and doing more for me than what I expected. Outside the classroom, they helped me apply to bachelor’s degree programs at several area colleges, including Clark University, where I attended after graduating with honors from Quinsig in 2004,” Mr. Vega said.

After graduating from Clark with a degree in Government and International Relations, he enrolled at Suffolk University Law School and obtained his law degree. He was admitted to the Massachusetts bar in 2009, and began his legal career in Worcester. Mr. Vega interned for The Honorable Timothy S. Hillman in federal court, and was soon after appointed as an Assistant District Attorney in the Worcester County District Attorney’s Office, where he prosecuted thousands of felony and misdemeanor cases, including drugs and firearm offenses, stabbings, arson and motor vehicle homicide matters. He also assisted first-degree murder prosecutions during his tenure as an ADA. Currently, he is an Assistant City Solicitor in the City of Worcester Law Department, where he litigates affirmative and defensive civil actions on behalf of the city.

Mr. Vega also is an adjunct faculty member in the criminal justice department at QCC. “It is a position I am proud to have because it gives me a great platform to offer students the same commitment and dedication that my Quinsig professors, who are now my colleagues, showed me,” he said.

He credits Quinsigamond Community College for helping him learn to value opportunity. He came from Peru at age 10 with his mother and three siblings, grew up in Worcester, attended Worcester Public Schools, but began struggling academically in high school.

“I had discipline issues, lacked motivation and preferred to be out getting into trouble. I had less than seven credits by my junior year when I needed 20 or 24 credits to graduate, so I was going nowhere academically, and to complicate matters even more, my girlfriend at the time was pregnant with our child,” he recalled. “As a result, I decided to drop out and seek full time employment so I could adequately support my son financially. But obviously, there aren’t many opportunities for a 17 year-old without a high school diploma, so I thought enlisting in the military would help.”

He said even after he had obtained his GED, he still needed to complete at least 12 college credits to enlist. “Thankfully, Quinsig’s open admission offered me the opportunity to complete those credits, and so much more, as it turned out,” Mr. Vega explained. 

Today, at 31, Mr. Vega is a proud father of a highly motivated 14-year-old boy attending Worcester Academy. The child’s mother, who dropped out of high school after Mr. Vega, also graduated from QCC and obtained her bachelor’s degree as well. She currently works in marketing and communications. “It took a lot to get to where we are professionally, and I doubt we would’ve made it this far without the opportunities we found at Quinsig,” Mr. Vega said.      

Although Mr. Vega now resides in Leominster with his wife, a prosecutor in the Worcester D.A.’s Office, he remains very involved in youth development programs in Worcester. He is an executive board member at the Worcester Youth Center, and a mentor in the Brothers and Keepers MENtoring program at QCC and the LEAP mentoring program at South High Community School.

He was also a presenter at the New England Educational Opportunity Association 2014 TRiO Day. TRiO is a nationwide, federally-funded program that provides educational opportunities for low-income and first-generation Americans, to help them enter and graduate college. Mr. Vega has been a guest speaker for the Upward Bound and Juvenile Resource Center programs at YOU, Inc., among other programs.

“Given my personal background, I enjoy mentoring ‘at-risk’ students, mainly because I personally know they remain grossly underserved and overlooked, and I am confident I can help change that,” he said.  “Personally, I think it's relatively easy to help a motivated student. I was that student at Clark and Suffolk. But it’s infinitely more challenging to motivate and educate a student with little or interest. I was that student also, but QCC took on that challenge. I actively seek to take similar challenges.”