In the Spotlight: October 7 Campus Connections

Student Spotlight
Ralph Houanche, changing paths

Ralph Houanche was on a path to become a pharmacist when he realized he wanted a career where he would provide more direct care to patients. That’s when he decided to enroll in SMCC’s nursing program.

Now he’s on track to earn his nursing degree and become a registered nurse. Down the road, he’d like to continue his education and become a nurse anesthetist or a nurse practitioner.

Ralph spoke French and Creole, but not a word of English, when his family moved to Maine from Haiti in 2009 in search of better opportunities and to get away from the political turmoil in his homeland.

He graduated from Portland High School and then earned a bachelor’s degree in biology/pre-pharmacy from St. Joseph’s College of Maine. But before going to pharmacy school, he decided to work in a pharmacy to be sure that was the career he wanted.

Eventually he realized he was interested in having more daily interaction with hospital patients. Nursing, he decided, was the better career choice for him.

“SMCC is affordable, and the support I’ve received from faculty has been great. I feel like I’m part of a community.”

Student Spotlight
Lily Adams, springing ahead

Lily Adams completed her first semester at SMCC while she was still in high school. Now she’s continuing her college career with a goal of someday owning her own orthodontia practice.

Lily was among 13 seniors from area high schools who were in the inaugural class of the Spring Ahead early college program. Those students took classes and experienced college life at SMCC last spring, allowing them to earn college credits and get a jump on college while still in high school.

Not only did Lily earn credits, she also was named to the Dean’s List and then enrolled in SMCC this fall.

Coming to SMCC is the first step in Lily’s long-range plan to earn her bachelor’s degree at the University of Maine after SMCC and then enroll in dental school to become an orthodontist. Eventually, she would like to own her own practice.

The Spring Ahead program, she said, not only allowed her to earn college credits while taking classes at SMCC, it taught her about time management, searching for jobs, the transfer process and other things that will last beyond her time at SMCC.

“The Spring Ahead program allowed me to get my feet wet in college while earning college credits. It provided me with the resources and support I needed to set me up for future success.”