Student Success Stories - Catharina Carvalho
Location, location, location was one of the driving factors that brought Catharina Carvalho, a Recife, Brazil native, to Salem Community College in 2002. But she also knew that the “small-school atmosphere with the big-school quality of teaching” at SCC would help her excel academically as well as personally.
“Since Day One at SCC, I felt people believed in me and in my potential to work hard and realize good things in academia,” she said. “Very much like a self-fulfilling prophecy, success is what I achieved in my two years at SCC.”
Though she was in a strange country, trying to learn a language that was not her own, Catharina, or Cathy, as she is known on campus, experienced college life at SCC to its fullest. She could be found in the library, hard at work toward her Associate Degree in Psychology. She’d also be seen working as the secretary for Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) and representing the College on the N.J. All-Academic Team in 2004. She also received the College’s Service Achievement Award in 2004 and was named to the PTK Middle States Regional Hall of Honor as well as being selected as Regional Distinguished Chapter Officer.
Being a student at Salem Community College helped Cathy move closer, one step at a time, to her ultimate goal of caring for the well being of children in school, at home and in life by pursuing her degree in psychology.
After graduating from Salem Community College in 2004, Cathy headed to Texas A&M University at the Commerce, Texas campus where she graduated summa cum laude with high honors in 2006 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. This accomplishment was made even more special as she was able to share the experience with fellow SCC graduate and friend Eileen Rhodes Wolfe of Alloway. Eileen also graduated summa cum laude with high honors from Texas A&M and together, they were given the honor of sitting on stage with the university’s faculty, administrators and special guests at their graduation.
Now, Cathy is a graduate student, working toward a specialist degree in School Psychology at Texas A&M. When she graduates in May 2010, she has plans to work as a school psychologist while pursuing a doctorate degree in psychology.
As she soars for the stars in her educational career, Cathy said her tenure at SCC gave her the confidence necessary to push past her perceived limits, to know that she can accomplish whatever she puts her mind to. As such, she enrolled in honors classes at Texas A&M and began publishing papers in her chosen field such as her thesis “Locus of Control: Differences Among College Students’ Stress Levels.”
She has also written “Differences Among Gender-Role Identity Groups on Stress” and “Stress Differences Among University Female Students,” both of which were published in the American Journal of Psychological Research.
Cathy believes that her time at Salem Community College allowed her to achieve more than she ever thought possible. In fact, she has three pieces of advice for students considering enrolling at SCC:
First, she says they should believe in themselves.
Next, know that the SCC faculty members only want the best for their students. “One of the fundamental elements in my tenure there was the fact that I trusted my professors were guiding me in the direction of accomplishment and success even when it did not look or feel like so,” she said.
And finally, “Do your work,” she says. “In life, there is no such thing as a free lunch.”
She credits many of the faculty and staff at SCC, including her advisors George Rey and BJ Smith, faculty members Dr. Nancy Lee, William Borda, Reginald Smith and Joan Baillie (now SCC Provost - Chief Academic Officer) as well as Dr. Reva Curry (former Vice President of Student Affairs) for helping her realize her potential and easing her transition from a two-year to four-year institution.
“These people and other members of the ‘SCC Family’ helped make me ready to face the challenges I would have ahead of me and shaped who I became in the ‘big school,’” Cathy said. “In the end, I believe that my success became their success.”