Friday, May 3, 2019

Graduates Share Glimpses of Their Journeys



Name: Bhumika “Bhumi” Adhikari

Degree: Communications

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

From: Taylorsville

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)

Degree: Sociology

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.