As one of the Northwest Community College Initiative (NWCCI) alumni from Kenya, Judith Ochola studied business at Whatcom Community College in Bellingham in 2010-11. Judith worked hard to complete her education. Because of her own struggles, she is committed to supporting education for girls in Kenya. She has returned to the United States and is currently studying nursing in New York. Read her story on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation website. Below she gives us an update on what she’s doing now.
Tell us about what you’ve done in the year and a half since you left NWCCI.
Upon my return to Kenya, I was actively involved with the St. Alice Angel’s Academy, a school that I have been supporting since 2007. As the project manager, I coordinated and implemented projects within the required timeline. I also trained my colleagues on managerial skills, because I also worked for a consultancy firm as an office administrator.
What are you studying in New York and how do you plan to use your degree in the future?
I am stuying to be a nurse. I believe I will be able to assist my community better in this field, rather than in the business carreer.
How did participating in the NWCCI program benefit you personally and/or professionally?
My experience in the US made me think about and react to situations differently; I also used my managerial skills to train my collegues.
What was one idea you had about the United States that changed as a result of participating in the NWCCI program?
There are challeges in the US too. I saw homeless and poor people, something that I did not expect to see in the USA. There is a perception in developing countries that everyone in the US is rich, but that is not the case. People here work very hard, and many also struggle to survive.
Do you have any advice for current students?
To work hard to realize their dreams, and not be demoralised by the occasional challenge. Anything is possible through hard work and determination, especially when combined with a strong moral character and ethical behavior.