A Look at Campus Life at Various Community and Junior Colleges
The del Cid siblings: Thelma del Cid, right, and her twin brother, Edgardo, are pictured with their 17-year-old sister, Alejandra, during an event in their home country of Honduras.
This year is a milestone year for the International Programs at Gadsden State Community College. The college has offered international programming for 50 years and the Alabama Language celebrates its 45th anniversary. The year 2018 also marks the 40th annual International Festival, an event created to be a cultural exchange that exposes the community to other cultures. The theme of the International Festival is “50 Years of Connecting Our World.” Over the past 50 years, more than 6,000 students from at least 142 counties have attended Gadsden State. Currently, the college has 106 internationally-born students from 35 countries. The international students at Gadsden State contributed $1.5 million to the state’s economy. Two of Gadsden State’s international students are Thelma and Edgardo del Cid, fraternal twins from the capital city of Honduras. They came from Tegucigalpa in the spring of 2016 after an EducationUSA advisor recommended Gadsden State. EducationUSA is a U.S. Department of State network of over 425 international student advising centers in more than 175 countries. The twins were excited — and nervous — when they moved into Gadsden State’s dormitory, Fowler Hall. “I was too nervous to leave my room; to put myself out there,” she said. Then, Thelma met Jasmine Adams, a Cherokee County native and resident of Fowler Hall. “She walked right in and introduced herself,” she said. “She approached me when I was too scared to go out. She brought me out of my shell. She is a lovely person. The two would become best friends. Adams even spent Christmas with the twins’ family in Honduras. She became one of many friends they would meet at Gadsden State. The del Cids quickly became a part of student life at Gadsden State. Thelma is a member of Circle K, and they are both members of Phi Theta Kappa and Student Without Borders, an organization that assists with the International Festival. The positive experiences they’ve had at Gadsden State are attributed to not only their fellow students but also to the International Programs staff. After graduation, Thelma plans to work towards a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering. She has applied to Alabama State University, Florida International University and Illinois Institute of Technology. Edgardo plans to walk in his father’s footsteps and work as a mechanical engineer. He hopes to transfer to either the University of Alabama or IIT for his bachelor’s degree. Both aspire to return to Honduras after they have achieved their educational goals.
Serpentine by Jessie Barnes
Dallas-based artist Jessie Barnes combines flora, fauna and human imagery in colorful, complex, and often jungle-like settings that harken back to her childhood in Florida. She practices printmaking, painting and drawing. Her work is currently on display at the Volunteer State Community College (Tenn.) Art Gallery. “Tangled palmettos and invasive vines serve as metaphors for instances in our lives when innocence turns to fear, while color lures the viewer closer,” Barnes said. “Ultimately, I present settings, objects, and environments that can be viewed wholly as a sanctuary or reminder of the past. My work is fragile and vulnerable, but it also possesses a dark and complex sense of power that mirrors personal strengths and weaknesses.”
It was a great stepping-stone — a place to explore options, find herself and embark on a path to a job she loves. That’s how Emma Petersen describes her experience at North Platte Community College (Neb.). Petersen graduated from NPCC of May of 2016 with two degrees: an associate of general studies and an associate of arts. She now works as the prevention, education and outreach coordinator for North Platte’s Rape/Domestic Abuse Program. “It took me awhile to decide what I wanted to study,” said Petersen. “That was what was nice about NPCC. While I was figuring out what I was interested in, I was doing so at a price I could afford.” She didn’t make the journey alone — the college’s faculty and staff were there to guide her every step of the way. That support was one of the reasons Petersen chose to attend NPCC in the first place. “I go back now as an alum and visit people in the Admissions Office that I met as a student,” said Petersen. “From the time I stepped foot on campus, I thought the environment at NPCC was very personable.” Petersen stayed involved with the theater department after enrolling at NPCC. She joined the theater club and was also an active member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. Her initial goal was to study history, specifically ancient history, and one day become a museum curator. However, after taking psychology, Petersen switched her focus to that and is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in the subject area from Chadron State College. “Eventually, I would like to pursue counseling certifications, but for now, I’m really enjoying what I do,” said Petersen. She travels to schools within RDAP’s six-county area: Lincoln, Logan, Hooker, Thomas, Cherry and McPherson, talking about violence prevention, providing one-on-one advocacy and offering community referrals. NPCC is one of her stops.