Campus & Community

Moroccan student earns degree she could only dream of in her home country

In 2017, Wahiba Pereira left her home country of Morocco to come to the United States.

When she arrived, she was filled with uncertainty and her English was bad, but one thing was clear—she was determined to get an education.

She began taking ESOL classes at an adult education center and later earned her GED. She also started a job at Dunkin Donuts and became friends with her coworkers who were PBSC students.

After they told her of their positive experiences at PBSC, she sought guidance from a PBSC advisor named Shannon Smigo – where Pereira says she reached a pivotal moment.

She distinctly recalls asking her about choosing a major. To her surprise, Smigo empowered her to choose whatever she desired.

“This moment was transformative, considering where I came from, where majors often required substantial financial resources and influential connections,” said Pereira. “Suddenly, I felt the freedom to pursue any major or career path, a concept unfamiliar to me before.”

Inspired by her newfound liberty, Pereira chose integrated technology as her major—a field she could only dream of back in her home country.

Doubting whether she could really pursue this dream, she scheduled another meeting with Smigo. To her disbelief, the registration process went smoothly, and she officially embarked on her academic journey at PBSC in January 2019.

Pereira, who is one of 35 current students from Morocco, is now graduating with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Information Management with a concentration in Database Administration and Data Analytics. She was recently inducted into The Order of the Sword & Shield National Honor Society.

Even though she faced the challenge of working and studying full-time during her first term, she recalls it being one of the happiest periods of her life.

“I studied diligently and relished in-person classes until the pandemic struck, and my academic journey transitioned to remote learning. Despite the uncertainties, PBSC continued to offer online, hybrid, and in-person classes, enabling me to continue my studies from home.”

Amidst her academic pursuits, she was blessed with two beautiful boys.

“Balancing motherhood and learning about parenting consumed much of my time, but it never deterred me from completing my education. I took exams while nursing and studied while cooking for my kids—it was a challenging yet rewarding journey.”

Pereira says she is immensely grateful to PBSC for providing her the flexibility to study from home, allowing me to graduate in fall 2023 with the honor of Omicron Sigma Sigma.

“I thank the faculty, advisors, professors, tutors, and my husband for their unwavering support throughout this incredible journey.”

As a testament to PBSC’s commitment to its students, Pereira is currently a data engineer internship within PBSC’s IT department.

“This opportunity not only showcases the college’s desire to give students hands-on experience but also provides me with invaluable training as I continue to grow in my chosen field. Thank you to everyone who has been a part of my success story.”

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