A 7,704-mile journey that began in January 2016 for Unami Susan Moeti of Botswana culminated with an associate in applied science degree with high honors in scientific glass technology on May 16.
Unami’s employer, the University of Botswana, sponsored her to study scientific glassblowing. “I searched on the Internet for schools that offer intensive and exciting glassblowing courses and only found SCC,” said Unami, who holds a certificate in science laboratory technology from the University of Botswana. “Because my supervisor [Dipogiso "Jerry" White] earned his degree from SCC in 2006 and because of the school profile, I immediately sent my application which was later accepted.”
Returning home with an associate degree will bring increased professional opportunities and a promotion to glassblowing technician. “With this degree, I’ll be the first qualified and enthusiastic female glassblower in Botswana,” she said.
“Currently, we have only one trained scientific glassblower in Botswana (my supervisor), so I’ll be the second qualified glassblower in the whole country,” she continued. “Therefore, any glassblowing position that arises, it’s either me or my supervisor who gets it.”
She also envisions opening a studio to make glassware for schools and research labs. “The laboratories in our schools are short of glassware and the government uses lots of money buying from other countries. I am now in a position to provide schools with high-quality, cheaper glassware,” said Unami who also looks forward to training fellow technicians on basic glassblowing techniques.
After overcoming homesickness, Unami said she has enjoyed her time at SCC.
“The welcoming and lovely staff - wow! Both in the main campus and at the Glass Center, I felt at home whenever I was in school,” said Unami, a Phi Theta Kappa member. “Also the opportunity of working and using high-class machinery and equipment for glass blowing and the help I got from the SCC Glass Center personnel is highly appreciated. The instructors were always available when I needed help, so were the lovely monitors and other non-academic staff.
She also expressed thanks to fellow students for supporting her, including providing rides to and from the Glass Education Center in Alloway. “What a lovely community,” said Unami. “I humbly appreciate them.”
In addition, she thanked her roommate, Deb DiMarco, SCC Class of 2006. “Deb has been supportive since the week I started school till today,” said Unami.
Outside of college life, Unami connected with Batswana in Philadelphia. “Also, social media helped me to communicate with my family and friends almost every day,” she said.
Although family members were unable to attend Commencement, she was cheered on by friends from the City of Brotherly Love. After the ups and downs of life as a college student, Unami walked across the stage filled with pride and appreciation.
“Wow! I can’t believe I made it,” she said. “This is one of the challenging professions. One must be patient and be determined. I remember one day I went home so frustrated because I had spent the whole three hours in class making a piece. When I was in the final stage it cracked and I had to toss it.
“I am proud of myself. I have grown both physically, emotionally and professionally due to this experience. Thank you, SCC; thank you, USA.”