While in high school, Zoe Coffin considered studying audio engineering in college to pursue a career in music. But she realized that electrical engineering technologies seemed to be similar and would provide her a more stable future as an electrician.
Zoe came to SMCC straight out of high school because it was affordable and close to home, and she figured she wouldn’t be out a lot of money if she didn’t like it.
But not only does she like it, she’s excelling in the Electrical Engineering Technologies program while working for the IT Department as a work-study student.
She still loves her music (she plays guitar and a bunch of other instruments) and has her own YouTube channel.
When she graduates, she knows there will be a strong job market for electricians and that she can still pursue her music in her spare time.
“I’m a very hands-on person. I like to work with wires figuring out things like how much wiring does this house need. Those kinds of problems make sense in my brain.”
Zahra Abukar, business and fashion design
Zahra Abukar didn’t speak a word of English when she moved to Maine four years ago. Now she’s earning a business degree at SMCC and has even opened a business selling her own line of clothing.
When Zahra was 11, her family moved from their homeland of Somalia to Turkey before later moving to Portland.
After graduating from Portland High School, she initially planned to go to a college in Massachusetts to study fashion design. But because of transportation obstacles, she came to SMCC instead and hasn’t looked back.
Besides earning her degree in Business Administration, Zahra is president of the Multicultural International Student Club, is a member of the SMCC Business Club and serves on SMCC’s Diversion & Inclusion Committee. Last spring, she won a prestigious Leon A. Gorman Scholarship, named in honor of the late longtime president and CEO of L.L. Bean.
Zahra recently started a small business, called Zahra Abukar’s Boutique, selling her own line of T-shirts, hijabs and abaya dresses in space she rents in a thrift store in Portland. It allows her to combine her love of fashion with business skills she’s learned at SMCC.
“I love how diverse this school is, there are students from all over the world. SMCC is life-changing, it changes people’s lives.”