Name: Bhumika “Bhumi” Adhikari
Up next: Possibly transfer to a four-year school for a bachelor’s degree in public relations
Goals: “I really want to earn a master’s degree in public relations,” she said.
Obstacles: Adjusting to a new culture. “It’s totally different here,” she said, comparing life to her former homes in Bhutan and Nepal.
Best part: “The professors are amazing,” she said. “They have the ability to understand immigrants and my circumstances. They are so helpful. I feel so blessed to be part of Salt Lake Community College.”
Name: Eddie Carreon, 24
From: West Valley City
Degree: Auto refinishing and collision
Up next: Working full time in his field at a body shop
Goals: Start his own shop someday
Obstacles: “I think everything is a challenge, to be honest,” he said. “You’ve got to work to get everything done – sign up for classes, everything takes work.” Carreon worked in construction and metal fabricating to pay his way through school.
Best part: “Just learning,” he said. “It’s fun – I like working on cars.”
Name: Falicia Witt, 32
From: West Jordan
Degree: Social Work
Up next: Transfer to University of Utah. She received her acceptance letter from the U of U the day before graduating from SLCC. Her son Kaden, 13, read the letter to his legally blind mother. “I did a happy dance,” said Witt. “I haven’t stopped celebrating.”
Goals: She wants to have her own practice in social work. “I just like helping people,” she said.
Obstacles: “I think the hardest part was trying to figure out the best way to go about doing things with accessibility,” she said. “The DRC (SLCC’s Disability Resource Center) was great. I couldn’t have done it without them. On a scale of one to 10, with 10 being the most accessible, SLCC was probably a 9.9. If anything wasn’t accessible, they would fix it.”
Best part: Her jewelry making class. “It was really a huge challenge and out of my comfort zone,” she said.
Name: Jess Robinette, 24
From: Salt Lake City
Degree: Paralegal Studies
Up next: Transferring to Utah Valley University to continue paralegal studies while also serving in the Army as an IT specialist.
Goals: Thinking about becoming a lawyer someday.
Obstacles: “Some of the projects and research took a lot of time,” she said. “But once you got the hang of it, it wasn’t too bad.”
Name: Rael Styles, 21
From: South Jordan
Degree: General studies
Up next: Transfer to Utah State University or Utah Valley University
Goals: Continue studies in chemistry or chemical engineering and work in one of those areas
Obstacles: Learning time management and not doing things last minute like in high school
Best part: Being at SLCC and part of cultural groups with students who didn’t judge him and with whom he could have fun. “I made so many friends,” he said.
Name: Sarah Hensley, 29
From: West Jordan
Degree: General Studies
Up next: Accepted to Weber State University to study nutrition
Goals: Possibly become a health teacher at a middle school. “I’m still debating, even at 29,” she laughed.
Obstacles: Managing time. She had a son before starting at SLCC in 2016 and, as of graduation day, was seven months pregnant. Going to school full time and being a full-time mom was challenging, she said.
Best part: She loved SLCC for being “very accommodating” for students, especially with online courses, and she loved the wide variety of general studies offerings.
Name: Savid Acuna, 23
Degree: Construction management
Up next: Pursue a bachelor’s degree and maybe a master’s in architecture
Goals: To become an architect, starting with designing homes and moving on to commercial buildings
Obstacles: “Honestly, it was just balancing life, school and work,” he said. “It got overwhelming sometimes. But now that I’m here, it’s all in the past.”
Best part: “It’s the small class sizes and getting to know the instructors well,” he said.
Name: Sumara Pereira, 54
From: West Jordan – She is originally from Brazil and was studying law there before “life got in the way” of her academic goals.
Degree: Sociology and History
Up next: Transfer to University of Utah for bachelor’s degree in sociology and history
Goals: To continue acquiring knowledge. Her son, who is 19, is doing research in genetics at the U of U. “He’s motivating me to keep on going,” she said. Pereira said she will be attending the U of U on a scholarship.
Obstacles: Being an older student on campus and feeling like a “dinosaur.”
Best part: Being inspired by associate professor Spencer Blake to pursue sociology.
Name: Zakil Hassan, 25
From: Egypt (lived in Salt Lake City past 10 years)
Up next: Start at University of Utah in fall to continue sociology studies
Goals: Undecided, currently working at Salt Lake City International Airport
Obstacles: Getting used to the English language (mostly writing) and a new culture
Best part: Meeting new people – “It was great,” she said about her time at SLCC.