Paths to Their Degrees: Spring Graduates (and alumni) Share Stories of Success

Published: May 17, 2021

I am LGBTQ. I signed myself out of high school at 16 because I was the victim of ruthless bullying, and also because I suffered from an undiagnosed learning disability. A chronic truant, I was given the choice to attend a strict all boys school or a trade school. I chose to attend Cosmetology school and became a hairdresser for 30 years. For all that time I wondered what it would be like to return to my education. When I turned 51 my brother lost his battle with lung cancer and I knew then that life was short and I had to give it a shot.

I was very self-conscious about my age when I enrolled at Queensborough Community College but instantly felt welcomed by the staff and faculty who made me feel like an experienced, valued individual. I am an Art Major and was twice selected to participate in the Annual Juried Student Exhibition. I will transfer to Queens College to study Ceramics, Sculpture, and Photography. I have surprised myself with all that I have been able to accomplish and will miss everyone very much. Thank You, Queensborough. I owe you a great debt. Emilio Aguirre, ’21


I was born in Baghdad, Iraq, and came to the U.S in 2010 as a refugee. I was granted that status based on my former affiliation with the U.S military in Iraq after the 2003 war. I've been living in NYC ever since my arrival. My passion for science and physics started at a late age. I decided to visit Queensborough to see whether science was a major I wanted to pursue and met with a great team of STEM advisors who helped me choose my classes.

Now, after two years, I am graduating. Queensborough has been an excellent school for me. I've met many great teachers and made friends with some superb fellow students. This summer I plan to participate in the AstroCom NYC fellowship where I'll be working on Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN), which is a region at the center of galaxies that emits high-energy radiation and illumination. In the fall I plan to transfer to City College.

Not all galaxies and not all colleges have high energy and illumination however Queensborough has both and will always inspire my scientific curiosity to answer the question, why?  John Meftah, ’21


In my freshman year of high school, I had a graphic design class that planted a seed in me that grew into my passion for design and art. When I came to Queensborough, I had the same feeling I had back then—the pure joy that results from creating something complex out of a tiny spark in my imagination. The Digital Art & Design professors inspired my imagination and encouraged me to shoot for the stars which immensely helped me learn and grow as an artist. I am very proud that my art was included twice in the Annual Juried Student Exhibition.

Queensborough’s community is intimate and supportive in a way that I had not experienced at my previous college and because of that community I became more confident in my skills and in myself.  Becoming a student at Queensborough was one of the best decisions of my life. I am now in my first semester at Queens College where I am studying in the Design BFA program, but will always remember how much my experience at Queensborough shaped my outlook of learning and of life. Rebecca Huynh, ’20


I came to Queensborough as a transfer student in Spring 2020 because I’d heard so many great things about the dance program! Dance has always been my passion and I plan to pursue a professional career in this field. When Covid hit everything was turned upside down, including school, which closed a year ago in the middle of the spring semester. Queensborough really showed up and made a seamless transition to a virtual learning environment. My professors were absolutely wonderful, understanding, and very supportive, especially on the days when I was filled with anxiety and stress. They made me feel stronger to carry on and reach my goals. Recently I moved to New Jersey and will transfer to Rutgers University to study Dance. Khayla Mcleod, ’21


When I began to apply to colleges in high school, my top choice was Montclair State University. I felt good about getting in since the school had a high acceptance rate and I felt like my dance audition went well. After a long awaited decision, I got wait-listed. A week later I received a denial letter. I was so disappointed and really down for the remainder of my senior year. I was not going to be in a dorm with a cool roommate and I wasn't going to be training in Montclair’s amazing studios. But my mothers’ words of encouragement helped me push through!

She encouraged me to apply to Queensborough. At first I thought it wasn’t the school for me but discovered that wasn’t true at all.

There is a stigma about community colleges that is completely unfounded. I’ve met many awesome people and all of my dance professors have been extremely attentive. They have truly inspired me to grow as a dancer, artist, performer and choreographer. I also was a member of the ASAP program (Accelerated Study in Associate    Program) which has been a great help financially.

Our last semester showcase was held on Zoom, May 16th.

It was a bittersweet event! This past year we’ve all had to overcome a lot of challenges. All of the dance majors have worked diligently on their workshop dance pieces and the fact that one of the dances was live on zoom just makes me feel so honored to be a part of it. This coming fall I will be transferring to Montclair State University! So happy and ready to celebrate this wonderful news! Nadia Simmons, ’21


Campus Cultural Centers

Kupferberg Holocaust Center exterior lit up at nightOpens in a new window
Kupferberg Holocaust Center Opens in a new window

The KHC uses the lessons of the Holocaust to educate current and future generations about the ramifications of unbridled prejudice, racism and stereotyping.

Russian Ballet performing at the Queensborough Performing Arts CenterOpens in a new window
QPAC: Performing Arts CenterOpens in a new window

QPAC is an invaluable entertainment company in this region with a growing national reputation. The arts at QPAC continues to play a vital role in transforming lives and building stronger communities.

Queensborough Art Gallery exterior in the afternoonOpens in a new window
QCC Art Gallery

The QCC Art Gallery of the City University of New York is a vital educational and cultural resource for Queensborough Community College, the Borough of Queens and the surrounding communities.