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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Diverse students find pathway to four-year studies while at South

South+student+Ariana+Rojas+will+major+in+biology+and+philosophy.+Bogdan+Sierra+Miranda%2FThe+Collegian
South student Ariana Rojas will major in biology and philosophy.

Bogdan Sierra Miranda/The Collegian

By Martin Ramirez/ south news editor

South student Joseph Nnani was accepted to A&M-Kingsville.Martin Ramirez/The Collegian
South student Joseph Nnani was accepted to A&M-Kingsville.
Martin Ramirez/The Collegian

Whether they were previously attending a Nigerian university or homeschooled, South has students with a variety of backgrounds graduating this semester.

When he was a baby, Joseph Nnani was diagnosed with cryptorchidism, resulting in multiple hospital visits. However, his exposure to the medical environment inspired him to become a doctor.

“I pretty much had to get a surgery at about a year and eight months,” he said. “The hospital had been pretty much a home for me.”

Nnani was forced to start over when he transferred to South Campus in June 2014. Previously, he was enrolled in Madonna University in Nigeria and was in its medical program for about three years studying public health.

“Dad had been abroad since I was 6 months old,” Nnani said. “As soon as he was able to, he brought my family here.”

When Nnani arrived on South, he found out his credits had not yet transferred. When they did, he was almost finished with school, though he did not mind retaking classes.

“Coming here was a hard decision, but the transfer wasn’t a problem,” he said. “All my life, I’ve been in school. I’ve grown knowing just school.”

South student Ariana Rojas will major in biology and philosophy. Bogdan Sierra Miranda/The Collegian
South student Ariana Rojas will major in biology and philosophy.
Bogdan Sierra Miranda/The Collegian

Fortunately, Nnani’s classes were interesting, and he learned new information. He called TCC an excellent school although he did not choose it.

“My dad chose TCC,” he said. “He has been here for a longer time, so he knows what is good. TCC has a lot of benefits because of the professor-student ratio. This is very beneficial for my science classes.”

Nnani applied for Texas A&M-Kingsville and was accepted early. He now wants to be a pharmacist after he shadowed a pharmacist in Nigeria.

“I loved going to work every day, which is really nice,” he said.

At one point in his school year, he was working three jobs: as a pharmacy technician in two different places and as a supplemental information leader on South. Now, he only works as an SI leader. Working, at first, was weird for him.

“First off, when I started in Nigeria, students don’t work unless they’re really, really, really, really poor,” he said. “My dad thinks it’s his duty to provide for us.”

As a member of Phi Theta Kappa, Nnani met friends that motivated him to do better. He also credits the Pre-Med Club on South for helping through the college application progress and planning his future.

“I’ve met most of my friends in Pre-Med, people who have the same goals as me,” he said.

Ariana Rojas hopes to major in both biology and philosophy as she transfers after graduation. At first, she wanted to be a veterinarian but changed her mind when she began classes on South.

“I plan to teach,” she said. “I think being a professor would be very cool.”

Rojas graduated from Premier High School but was homeschooled for most of her life. She had to attend TCC instead of a big university when money became an issue, but she said she does not regret this decision. She has been accepted into Cornell University but is waiting for financial aid to see if she will attend.

“Being able to afford college is definitely an obstacle for me,” she said. “I’ve been able to avoid going into debt by being here.”

Rojas’ research project was studying lemur droppings to see evolutionary changes. She also participated in TCC’s Salzburg program, where she traveled to Austria. Plus, she is president of the Cornerstone Honors Program.

Both Rojas and Nnani won divisional awards for excellence this year. Rojas won for social science and Nnani for science and math. Biology professor Jean de Schweinitz said they both always have smiles on their faces.

“Two wonderful students, and they exemplify the very best that TCC has in the student population,” she said. “Truth is, these two would be successful anytime, anywhere. We were just very fortunate they were here on South Campus.”

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