Class of 2017 Profiles: Exceptional Graduates Overcome Cultural & Educational Hardships

NSC 2017 graduates, Lyndsey Ferguson Doyle, Tiffany Carpenter & Martin Rodriguez

NSC 2017 grads, Lyndsey Ferguson Doyle, Tiffany Carpenter & Martin Rodriguez

On June 16, students from across the Seattle Colleges District came together at Safeco Field for the 50th Annual Commencement ceremony and the first ever joint graduation with the four campuses in the district: North Seattle College (NSC), Seattle Central College, South Seattle College and Seattle Vocational Institute. 

More than 1,200 students graduated from North Seattle College. Many overcame significant obstacles to cross the stage with their peers and achieve their goals. The following graduate profiles represent just three stories from the Class of 2017.

Martin Rodriguez and his wife came to the United States from Peru 10 years ago with hopes and dreams of finding a better life. His plan was to find a part-time job and enroll in college, but this plan changed when they discovered his wife was pregnant.  

When they got to the U.S., Rodriguez got a job at a Subway, but encountered problems due to language barriers. He enrolled at NSC, to improve his English and attended for one year, but ended up leaving to join the workforce to bring in more income for his growing family. 

After his second child was born, he reevaluated his personal goals; he wanted to obtain his bachelor's degree. The English language was still difficult for him, so he joined NSC again and completed ESL classes through the Workforce Education program.  

One day during his English 101 course, he listened to a presentation from NSC staff member Jesse Cooley, about the college’s bachelor of applied science degree in international business.  

There were a few pre-requisite courses that he needed before he could apply to the program – accounting being one of them. "I thought if I did not understand accounting ten years ago when I was young, then I would have a hard time understanding it now," said Rodriguez. "But this attitude changed radically when I enrolled in Accounting 102 with NSC Accounting Instructor, Joe Smith. His methods of teaching turned my fear into a passion for accounting and a new world opened up to me." 

After completing his pre-requisite courses, Rodriguez needed financial support to obtain his bachelor's degree. The NSC Education Fund provided the opportunity for him to pursue and obtain his bachelor's degree.  

"I arrived 10 years ago with very little understanding of the American culture and the language," said Rodriguez. "Today I feel that I am making steady progress in both areas thanks mainly to the flexibility and the teaching techniques of NSC faculty that help newly arrived immigrants such as myself."  

Tiffany Carpenter sat in a classroom for the first time in her life at 9 a.m., April 6, 2015, on the North Seattle College campus. This moment marked a tremendous milestone for Carpenter, as her life would be transformed over the next two years.

Carpenter joined NSC as a Running Start student who had previously been home schooled. She signed up as an academic transfer student, not quite knowing what she wanted to do at the time.

Her motivation for an education at NSC? “I believe in the value of education and discovering the world for yourself,” said Carpenter. “Curiosity inspires me to learn, acquire more knowledge and to seek out enriching discussions and friendships with classmates, instructors, and the rest of the wonderfully diverse community at North.”

During her time at NSC, she demonstrated exceptional academic success, placing her on the President’s List and the Dean’s List. She also received an offer to join Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society, where she ultimately ended up serving as President of North’s on-campus chapter and a Regional Vice President for District One of PTK.

Although Carpenter gives many thanks to all of her instructors at NSC, she found a mentor in Rebecca Brown, NSC English literature instructor, who has “helped me hone elegant writing, creative thinking, and provided invaluable mentorship that continues to support my new endeavors,” said Carpenter.

In 2017, Carpenter was nominated to represent NSC as one of two students for the All-Washington Academic Team. The competition recognizes high achieving two-year college students nationwide who demonstrate academic excellence and intellectual rigor combined with leadership and service.

Her reach beyond the classroom is evident in her volunteer work as an informal tutor on North’s campus, at her father’s medical nonprofit, helping individuals find ways to address their mobility needs, and at the Cascade Youth Symphony Orchestra.

“Tiffany superbly embodies the 21st century college student whose drive to absorb knowledge, help others and be a global citizen will be an enormous asset to societies at large," Brown said.

To complete an associate’s and an undergraduate degree, she has received academic support in the form of scholarships, including the illustrious Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer scholarship, a scholarship from the North Education Fund, the Joan Fedor Award of Distinction, the Alfie scholarship, and a Messina Scholarship.

Carpenter plans to transfer to Seattle University, where she will major in international studies. Subsequently, she intends to take the LSAT and attend law school. Ultimately, she would like to serve the community as an attorney for family, employment, and human rights.

“I was very shy and curious [when joining North], but hesitant to get involved,” said Carpenter. “Now, I think of myself as an activist with more courage to leap in and learn about something that I am unfamiliar with.”

Lyndsey Ferguson Doyle, moved to Seattle three years ago, with very little money, and the intent to fully invest in her education and career goals.

It was not an easy move, but starting her journey at NSC was the best decision she has made for herself.

Every day at North provided an opportunity for Doyle to embrace the changes and challenges that made her a stronger individual today.

“I am truly grateful to have made the best of friends and to see how much I have grown over the years in this diverse and welcoming environment,” said Doyle.

Posted on: June 29th, 2017 at 10:07:14

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