Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Students of Note at Grossmont College

Some students face incredible obstacles on their way to earning a college degree. On Saturday, May 11, Grossmont College held its 21st annual Students of Note ceremony, honoring students who overcome obstacles and will be graduating this year. All of the 17 students who were honored had incredible stories. Here are a few of them:

Vanessa Dangerfield
Vanessa Dangerfield  has volunteered more than 230 hours in the pediatric intensive care unit at Rady's Childrens Hospital since April 2011. She started volunteering after her newborn son spent 2 1/2 months in the neonatal ICU there. Her son was born in 2007 with a rare heart anomaly.

Vanessa says it was during that period that she was inspired to go into nursing. After two years of improved health, her son had a sudden cardiac arrest in 2009 and passed away. Vanessa states her goal: "to ultimately become a pediatric cardiac nurse practitioner to help other 'heart warriors' and carry on my son's legacy."

Dealing with all of the difficult emotions during her studies at Grossmont while completing the clinical requirements, Vanessa has truly turned a tragedy into a victory as she is a champion for others in accomplishing her career goal of becoming a neo-natal nurse.

(A.S., nursing)
Cristian Ramos
Cristian Ramos  English is not Cristian's first language, but he has excellent written and verbal communication skills. Cristian was extremely poor while growing up in Mexico City, and his father abandoned the family when he was a child. He suffered extreme bullying and violence throughout his years in middle- and high school. After finishing high school, he moved to the United States to live with his grandparents in San Diego and attend Grossmont College.

Cristian was drawn to the Administration of Justice forensic technology program because of his passion for justice. His life purpose is to pursue justice for victims of crime and abuse. Cristian had a difficult semester because his grandfather, the only male role model in his life, recently passed away. Despite his grief for his grandfather, he persevered to finish his degree.

(A.S., administration of justice - forensic technology)

Nicole Loth
Nicole Loth  has overcome significant hardships to complete her degree. Nicole has persisted over several semesters to acheive her academic goals. She first began attending Grossmont College in the 1990s, then returned in 2012. Nicole's determination and persistence on the path to acheiving her degree is incredibly strong and her GPA is above a 3.0 despite numerous challenges.

Nicole plans to continue her studies at Arizona State University to earn her bachelor's degree. She remains positive and optimisitc as she looks forward to continuing her academic career.

(A.A. general studies - social and behavioral science)

Daniel Umah-Mgborogwu
Daniel Umah-Mgborogwu was born and raised in Nigeria, and came to the United States at the age of 20. His parents were hunters until his father went back to school to get a degree in sociology. Daniel credits his father for his desire to continue his education.

Daniel worked three jobs when he came to the U.S. in order to support his family. While assimilating to a new culture, he has experienced hunger, grielf for lost loved ones, and many days was without a change of clothes or shoes.

Daniel has lost several loved one to pulmonary diseases and that has fueled his desire to become a pulmonologist. He has maintained a 3.27 GPA while working full-time throughout the difficult two-year respiratory therapy program.

(A.S. respiratory therapy)

Jamie Martinez
Jamie Martinez was taken into the foster care system at the age of four. Throughout his young life, he was consistently let down by people who were responsible to care for him. Jamie remembers hearing teachers tell his foster parents that he was not capable of acheiving excellence in school.

His frustration was fueled by a system of revolving social workers assigned to him. Jamie started his college experience through the EOPS Summer Institute Program and throughout his time at Grossmont, Jamie has demonstrated educational excellence.

He will be graduating with honors and has been accepted at University of California, Berkeley. Jamie has been a vital member of the CalWORKs office as a student worker and foster youth student ambassador.

Jamie's UC personal statement reads: "Today, I strive to become the best I can be. Not solely for myself, but to prove to people that just because I was a foster child, that doesn't mean I am destined to fail." 

(A.A. philosophy and university studies - social and behavioral science)

Glynis DeVita
Glynis DeVita  came to Grossmont College as a welfare to work student. She is a single parent raising her eight-year-old grandson. Glynis is active with her grandson's school PTA and readily volunteers for many activities throughout the year -- all while obtaining a black belt in martial arts.

She hesitated to agree to complete a long-range educational plan because of a lack of confidence in her future, but she now has a GPA of 3.9 and is on her way to San Diego State University to major in accounting.

(A.S., business administration, certificate of acheivement - business administration, A.S., university studies - business and economics, certificate of acheivement - university studies)

Satomi Markowitz
Satomi Markowitz is a native of Japan whose greatest accomplishment was overcoming two language barriers: first, English as a Second Language; second, the language of nursing and health sciences. Satomi says, " Many words were new to me, and I needed to learn those words as well as learning the actual content of the classes. I would spend double or triple the time studying. I was waking up at 2 a.m. every morning to read and write in order to finish my school work."

Satomi is very proud of her ability to successfully finish the nursing program. She said, "As a student, I may not have reached the highest academic point, but I feel I am a person who has walked the farthest distance in my class. I went through this demanding program, assimilated a new culture, and successfully completed the degree despite all of the extra challenges."

(A.S., nursing)

Isaiah Moore is a profoundly Deaf African-American student who has worked very hard to become transfer ready to San Jose State University, where he plans to major in media communications. Isaiah has struggled with English as his second language and understanding all the cultural and systemative information that most people take for granted. He has experienced a tremendous amount of growth and a "get up again" attitude as he has pushed through the difficulty of his studies.

His passion is photography and he plans to minor in this at San Jose State. Isaiah has also been involved with the American Sign Language Club and has been a great friend and tutor to fellow Grossmont College ASL students.

(A.A., university studies - humanities and fine arts, and certificate of acheivement - university studies)

James Groves
James Groves is a veteran who has overcome multiple disabilities, as well as personal and financial obstacles, to earn his degree. James is an extremely conscientious student who has met with his counselor regularly to make sure that he is on track to earn his degree. James has made excellent use of the special services avaiable in Disabled Student Programs and Services, such as the math strategies small group instructional support.

James is an incredibly hard worker who takes great pride in a job well done. James strives to earn academic honors and to set a strong example for other members of his family. He's been persistent and made a dedicated effort to earn his degree.

(A.S., management)

Darron DeVillez
Darron DeVillez is a veteran and the president of Grossmont College's Student Veteran Organization. He has been awarded the state Cal-Works scholarship. As a member of the speech and debate team, he has won 12 speaking awards and has been a state and national competitor, winning silver and bronze awards. He has been accepted to San Diego State University and will be transferring there this fall.

His life began in an abusive home. He escaped that life when he joined the Navy, only to be challenged with post-traumatic stress disorder. Darron responded to this part of his life with alcohol and drug use. He was often in trouble with the law and this resulted in multiple incarcerations. Losing his family during this time was one of his biggest motivations.

Darron has a beautiful wife and three children, with two of them currently attending Grossmont. Yet, he still found himself homeless with extreme financial hardship when he discovered the veteran organization Stand Down. He now has his family back, and is completing his degree and moving on to San Diego State. He intends to continue his education and hopes to become a voice for veterans across the country.

(A.A., communication, A.A., university studies - communication and language arts, certificate of achievement, university studies)