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 Campus Information >  Quick Facts > Student Success Stories

Student Success Stories

At South, our students can "Start Here, Go Anywhere." We know South students enjoy success. See for yourself and read some students and alumni stories below. Join our Alumni Association and get the latest on news and events or submit your alumni story today.

Also see Graduation Photos | Staff and Community | Student Statistics and Foundation Donors whose support helps our students succeed.

"I first came to South while I was still a student at Chief Sealth High School, joining the Running Start program," says Minh. It was this first experience at a community college that open my eyes and broke the cliché that only smart high schools graduates go on to universities. Minh is currently working at a Virginia Mason's Cancer Institute as a Licensed Practical Nurse and will return to South this fall to continue her education to become an RN. ~ Minh-Trang Duong LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse) Program, Class of 2006.

Minh-Trang Duong
Minh-Tran

Long Road Leading to Bachelor's Degree When Teklezgy Sequar started at South in 1993 as an Adult Basic Education and English as a Second Language student he never believed he would be pursuing a bachelor's degree. Teklezgy is originally from Eritrea, a country situated in northern East Africa. He came to the Seattle area where his brothers and sister are living because of the continuing conflict his country has had with Ethiopia. The conditions of his life were dangerous because he had to serve in the military.....

Teklezgy Sequar
Teklezgy Sequar
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South is a place where you can find your passion and receive support even if you are not sure that college is right for you. Janice Young (AA, Winter 2007) found this out. In her own words, she describes her feelings when she started: "I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life, or major in. I just wanted to make my parents happy, so I enrolled at South. Enrolling was the easy part, but Janice would soon learn there would be challenges in reaching a degree. Janice recounts her experience: .....

Janice Young
Janice Young

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Baby Boomer Finds New Passion Retired after 27 years in the U.S. Army as a physician assistant, Steve Hale had a desire to do something quite different. He thought what better way to explore options it than to go back to school. "Continuing your education later in life keeps your mind sharp," says Steve. "And going to school is a natural way to stay involved with the community and be around positive people going places." South's Northwest Wine Academy seemed a natural fit for Steve......

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Steve Hale
Steve Hale

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Erika Pollard ~ 2003 is one of the first students to take advantage of the new bachelor's degrees offered at South's new University Center. Erika is pursuing Heritage University's BA in Education (with Residency Certification and Elementary, K-8, and ESL Endorsements, K-12).

Erika, who is currently a Family Services Provider for Seattle Public Schools Head Start Program, has this to say about her choice:.....

Erika Johnson
Erica Pollard

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"Receiving a scholarship from the Foundation allowed me to complete my transfer degree and made me feel proud that I am part of the many students at South deserving of a scholarship. I will continue to give back to the community that has given me so many opportunities." Christian graduated from Seattle University in 2007 and accepted a position with an engineering firm. ~ Christian Guerrero AA degree, Class of 2005

 

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Christian Guerrero
Christian Guerrero

"You only have one life and you have to live it to the best of your ability," says Tammy, who has been educating young people on making safe decisions since a life changing accident left her a paraplegic. I encourage people with disabilities to go to college to get an education, and to try to get out there in the work force. Tammy was hired in March 2007 as the Marketing Manager for VARILITE, a local company in Seattle that makes postural support systems for wheelchair users like her. ~ Tammy Wilber, AA, Class of 2003 2006 Ms. Wheelchair Washington.

Tammy Wilber
Tammy Wilber

Kerry McNamar works and studies at South. An Officer on our Campus Security team, Kerry is also a full-time student at Heritage University, one of the college’s four year partners at our new University Center. “As a West Seattle resident, I love the convenience of taking classes so near to home,” Kerry said. He plans to become a teacher, and expects to graduate in 2008 with a BA in Education.

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Kerry McNamar
Kerry McNamar

Tuyen Nhan is a Running Start student at South and is taking courses toward Pre-Medicine. Her goal to become a pediatrician is reflected in her public service. She has volunteered at the Pacific Science Center helping children with science-based crafts and at Highline Head Start helping teachers and children in the classroom. She served at Highline Medical Center as part of Project HOPE, assisting patients in their care.

Tuyen Nhan
Tuyen Nhan

Xuan Don is an international student from Vietnam. She plans to major in Biological Sciences. In addition to her rigorous course load, Xuan works to promote the academic success of her fellow students in the Women's Center, in the International Programs Office as Vietnamese Student Ambassador, and as a campus math tutor. She volunteers organizing activities for senior residents at Providence Mount St. Vincent. Her career goal is to work with the International Red Cross to provide global healthcare and education in impoverished nations.
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Xuan Don
Xuan Don


Culinary Students Take State
Culinary Arts students recently won the Washington State Preliminaries of the American Culinary Federation�s Junior Hot Food Competition. As winners of the Washington State Preliminaries, South�s Junior Hot Food Team represented the state in the Western Regional Finals in Coeur d�Alene, Idaho in April......

Culinary Arts Students
Culinary Students

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Emma Schuster tells about the journey that brought her to South in her own words: I was born and raised on the South Pacific island of Tutuila in American Samoa. I came to South after high school graduation in May 2006. I chose this college because my aunt told me it was a great school. She is a graduate of the Accounting program. I am very family oriented, so I am determined to be the best that I can be not only for myself but for them. I especially want to make my mother, Tai Duseigneur, proud. I am committed to my studies but at the same time I love to enjoy myself......

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Emma Schuster
Emma Shuster

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Inspiration and Achievement Born and raised in Seattle, Washington, Kyle Shaffer is a sophomore, studying Business. Kyle is active in South�s student government, and serves as chairman of legislative affairs for the USA (United Student Association). After attending South, he plans on applying to the University of Washington�s School of Business. Kyle spent 10 months last year studying in Japan. He would very much like to return in the not too distant future, and believes that every student should consider studying abroad......

Kyle Shaffer
Kyle Shaffer

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Alumna Goes Places Kathie Pham is certainly making her mark. The former Running Start student (AA, Summer 2005), now studying finance and information systems at the University of Washington Business School, won a position with a prestigious internship in Washington, D.C. this past summer. The internship was offered jointly by the Organization of Chinese Americans (http://www.ocanational.org), which is �dedicated to advancing the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans in the United States,�.....

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Kathie Pham
Kathie Pham
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Deepak Parashar began taking classes at South when he was 15 as a part of Running Start. He earned a BS in electrical engineering at UW, and is now pursuing concurrent JD and MBA degrees at University of Alabama and Notre Dame University.

 


Deepak Parashar
Deepak Parashar

Sarah Michelle Leonard South grad is a senior at the University of Cairo majoring in Islamic studies and anthropology, with plans to pursue a Master�s degree in Middle East studies.

 

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Sarah Michelle Leonard
Sarah Leonard

Abebe Aberra and son, Edonyas South grad is now a country project management assistant UW�s Department of Global Health, International Training and Education Center for HIV (I-TECH).

 

 

 

Abebe Aberra and son Edonyas
Abebe Aberra

Strauss Family

South is a family affair for Jimmie Strauss and sons Johann and Eric. Dad received an AAS degree in Diesel & Heavy Equipment Technology, and both 20-year old Johann and 15-year old Eric participated in South�s Upward Bound program. Johann, who now attends Stanford University, was a program volunteer this past summer.
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Strauss Family
Strauss Family

Dayib Ismail loves South Seattle Community College. So much so that he arrives on campus before the cafeteria opens, and often leaves at night as the library lights are turned off. The Somali native, who has been in the US for just eight years, has completed course requirements for an AA degree in software engineering and is currently working on prerequisites for transfer to a four-year Registered Nurse (RN) program. Dayib�s software engineering skills have already helped the college community. As a final class project, he and fellow students created new software for use in Registration......

Dayib Ismail
Dayib Ismail

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All-Washington Achievers Abeba Vandenburgh (College Transfer) and Tram (Tammy) N. Tan (Running Start) were selected as South’s representatives to the All-Washington Academic Team, which honors Washington state community and technical college students for academic achievement and community service.
They and other members of the All-Washington Academic Team were honored at an awards ceremony on March 20, at South Puget Sound Community College in Olympia, where each student scholar received a medallion, and a $750 scholarship.

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Abeba Vandenburgh
Abeba Vandenburgh

Tram (Tammy) N. Tan
Tram N. Tan

Eduardo Muñoz ~ 2003 Running Start Student came to South in 2003 as a teenager to finish his high school diploma as a Running Start student. Eduardo struggled to complete this initial goal, but he did find success in other areas. He served as the Chicano/Latino Commissioner for the Office of Diversity, and as a Senator for the United Students Association. Through his involvement, he found a network that would support and encourage him to persist in his educational goals......

Eduardo Muñoz
Eduardo Muñoz

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A Good Evening speech from Jonathan Habeeb-Ullah:
Good evening,

I am very happy to stand here before all of you this evening. Just a couple of years ago, I never could have imagined this moment, that I, Jonathan Habeeb-Ullah, a student here at South Seattle Community College would be giving a special occasion speech like this one.

To those of you that have achieved your dreams, and to those of you that are going on even farther to achieve your goals, as well as those of you around us that have inspired us to make it here today......

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Jonathan Habeeb-Ullah
Jonathan Habeeb-Ullah

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South Students All-Washington Academic Team Honored in Olympia.
Khoa Ho and Kathie Pham were recognized as top community and technical college students for their academic achievement and community service. The two are part of a group of students representing the state’s two-year colleges. The students were nominated through a state program modeled after the national All-USA Academic Team, initiated by Phi Theta Kappa, the two-year college international honor society.

The program has become the showcase for Washington's community and technical colleges because it honors the academic high achievers, the men and women who have demonstrated a commitment to success in the classroom and in the communities in which they live. This recognition demonstrates the state's commitment to scholarship and community service on the part of those attending the state's public community and technical colleges......

Khoa Ho
Khoa Ho

Kathie Pham
Kathie Pham

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Council for Opportunity in Education’s 24th Annual Policy Seminar.
Students Elise Hwang and Johann Strauss recently helped represent Washington State at a national education conference in Washington, D.C.
The two are alumni of South Seattle Community College’s Upward Bound program, part of the federally funded TRIO programs whose mission is to build a tradition of college among students who might never consider it an option. South’s program serves Evergreen and Tyee High Schools.

The two were in Washington, D.C. to attend the Council for Opportunity in Education’s 24th Annual Policy Seminar. The council is a national organization, headquartered in Washington, D.C., which represents institutions of higher education, administrators, counselors, teachers, and students in the federal TRIO programs across the country......

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Elise Hwang
Elise Hwang

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss

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Maria Lopez ~ 2005 College Transfer Graduate

Maria Lopez immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico City 18 years ago, seeking a better life. At first, her lack of English kept her from going to college; however, she soon discovered the ESL program at South Seattle Community College. As her language skills improved, she began taking academic courses. She credits Math Instructor Ted Coskey, who she calls an "inspiration," for her early successes in pursuing her educational dreams......

 

Maria Lopez
Maria Lopez

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Claudia Sorum ~ Student Overcomes Odds to Succeed

If you had asked Claudia "Dia" Sorum a few years ago if she would be contemplating finishing her bachelor's at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington or Seattle University, she would have probably told you that the dream of college was not even on her agenda.

Dia, a 3.8 GPA student in the Computing Technology program at South, has come a long way, showing that everyone deserves a second chance......

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Claudia Sorum
Claudia Sorum

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Deb Twemlow - College Transfer Graduate

Virginia Sullivan, Director of Advising & Running Start, recently received a letter from former student Deb Twemlow, who is now the Recreation Director for the University of Alaska Southeast. The following are some excepts:

"Almost ten years ago my college experience started at South Seattle Community College......

Deb Tremlow
Deb Twemlow

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C'Ardiss Gardner ~ 2004 College Transfer Graduate

Students at South often show us how to live the school motto of "Start Here, Go Anywhere.". C'Ardiss, or CC, is an example.

CC's journey at South began in 1994 when she was 18 years old. Her dreams were delayed to take care of her two children and to enter the workplace. Determined to finish her associate's degree, CC entered the college again in spring 2003 and was able to complete her degree......

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C'Ardiss Gardner
C'Ardiss Gardner

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Joseph Seia ~ 2002 Upward Bound Graduate

Joseph was honored as one of the Seattle Times’ “Outstanding Graduates 2002.” His freshman year in high school Joseph thought to himself, "Maybe I shouldn't be just doing what my peers are doing. Maybe there's something bigger out there for me. You only live once and I want to help the world," he said.
Pursuing his studies was challenging as he grew up in a two-bedroom apartment with 10 relatives......

Joseph Seia, Upward Bound Student
Joshep Seia

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Tory McPhail ~ 1993 Culinary Arts Graduate

What does Tory McPhail have in common with cooking legends Paul Prudhomme, Emeril Lagasse and Jamie Shannon? All have held the position that Tory now holds, executive chef of the prestigious New Orleans restaurant Commander's Palace.

Knowing that he wanted to be a chef since a young age, the Ferndale native began his culinary journey at South. After graduating, he began his professional life at Commander's Palace, moving through all 12 stations in the kitchen in two years......

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Chef Tory McPhail
Tory McPhail

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Norm Knowles ~ 2003 Web Design & Development Graduate

When Norm Knowles found himself at South, it was far away from his home in Alaska and former life, where he spent the previous 16 years finishing concrete and pouring foundations, as well as working part time as a personal trainer. Norm’s life changed when an ice climbing accident left him unable to continue doing construction work, eventually leading him to seek training for a new career......

Norm Knowles
Norm Knowles

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Josh Turner ~ 2005 Running Start Graduate

How many 17-year-olds do you know with a college degree under their belt after just two years? Josh Turner is such a student. In the fall of 2003 Josh started full time at South as a part of the Running Start program, which lets students earn tuition-free college credit. He will graduate in June 2005 with his Associate of Arts degree. Josh plans to attend Central Washington University in Ellensburg, to pursue a major in information technology.
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Josh Turner
Josh Turner

Jessica Burtt ~ 2005 Running Start Graduate

"I have been a Running Start student at South Seattle Community College since the fall of 2003 and I just want to tell you how much I love it. Most kids at my high school give me an awful look when I tell them that I am in the Running Start Program. They think I am a genius because I am taking college classes. But I tell them I definitely am not. In high school I was a "B" average student, (except for math) but my grades started to drop at the end of my sophomore year......

Jessica Burtt
Jessica Burtt

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Bart Kuliczkowski ~ 1992 Culinary Arts Graduate

Chef Kuliczkowski shows that hard work and dreams go a long way. Originally from Poland, Bart came to the United States in 1986. Shortly after immigrating, he started his culinary journey at the age of 14 at Tosoni's, an Italian restaurant in Bellevue. His road to success also included training under the executive chef at the Bellevue Hyatt Hotel, attending school, and serving as executive chef at Ristorante Paradiso in Kirkland for 10 years.......

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Chef Bart Kuliczkowski
Bart Kuliczkowski

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Lyudmila Botamanenko ~ 1996 Accounting Graduate

Lyudmila is a great example of South’s motto “Start Here, Go Anywhere.” Her story is that of a remarkable individual. Lyudmila came to the United States from Ukraine in 1989. At that time she did not speak much English, so she enrolled in the English as a Second Language (ESL) program in 1993.

After completing the program she enrolled in classes and received a certificate in accounting......

Lyudmila Botamanenko
Lyudmila Botamanenko

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Mat (Mathias) Wolf ~ 1992 Culinary Arts Graduate

After graduating from South, Mat promptly moved to New Orleans, where he spent the next five years mastering the techniques and ingredients of the city’s unique cuisine. He returned to Seattle in 1998, holding positions at Campagne and Flying Fish. Drawn back to New Orleans in 2002, Mat won the position of executive chef at Gautreau's, where he indulges his passion for creating seafood dishes, calling back to his Northwest origins......

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Chef  Mat (Mathias) Wolf
Mathias Wolf

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Dana Musselman (left) Valerie Tran (right) ~
2002 Running Start Students


“I like the fact that my classes are flexible. I like the ability to choose what to take and how great the teachers and students are. It’s nice to have small class sizes and the closeness of the student teacher relationship. Plus, the fact that my classes are free doesn’t hurt. I have a great opportunity to achieve a lot further than my peers. I have excelled in college and when I transfer to a four-year university, the transition will be easier.”.....

Dana Musselman (left) Valerie Tran (right)
Dana & Valerie

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