In the Spotlight: Oct 22 Campus Connections

Student Profile
Yaya Dunn, ‘go explore’

Yaya Dunn was timid about coming to college out of high school. But you’d never know that today the way she gives her all in everything she does, whether it’s working as an RA, playing on the women’s soccer team or cheering at SeaWolves basketball games.

Yaya is a native of Guinea, a small country in West Africa, and moved to Maine at age 9 when she and her brother were adopted by a family in Kittery. After high school, she came to SMCC in 2017 and is enrolled in the Liberal Studies program.

Although concerned that she would be on her own in college, she discovered once she got here that there are plenty of resources and support from faculty and staff to help students succeed.

After she graduates in the spring, she plans to transfer to a four-year school, possibly in the New York area or North Carolina. When she completes her education, she plans to become a human resources manager.

At SMCC, she stays busy with student activities as an RA in Spring Point Hall and makes a point to go to as many games as she can to support SMCC athletic teams. She’s also a midfielder on the women’s soccer team.

Yaya encourages students to stay active and seek out things of interest to them.

“In your first year, do not stay in your room. SMCC has so much to offer. Go explore.”

Student Profile
Mahdi Farah, Harvard workshop

Mahdi Farah, who moved to Maine less than three years ago from the east African nation of Djibouti, has been accepted into a skills workshop at Harvard Medical School.

Farah and his family moved to the U.S. in early 2016 for a better life and to escape the political oppression in his homeland. He didn’t speak a word of English when he arrived, but that didn’t stop him from learning the language and enrolling in SMCC’s biotechnology program this fall.

At the urging of his advisor, he applied to take part in a Harvard Medical School skills workshop on October 27 that provides students with information and guidance in areas such as application process for college and medical/graduate/professional schools, interviewing skills and financial planning.

When he heard he’d been accepted, he reacted with a “wow” because Harvard is world-renown.

While living in Djibouti, Mahdi attended medical school for a year and then completed three years of laboratory training in order to work as a hospital lab technician. His short-term goal is to be certified as a lab technician in Maine after he graduates from SMCC; beyond that, he hopes to continue his education.

It’s not easy juggling school, a full-time job and the responsibilities of a family with a wife and two young daughters. But Mahdi is committed to building a bright future.

“I don’t want to give up on my studies. My long-term goal is to become a microbiologist.”