As the First Year Success Coordinator at the Portsmouth Campus, Okema Bowers is dedicated to helping new students achieve academic and personal success.
But, according to her, the job is really about empowerment: “I believe in what we do here as a comprehensive community college. I believe in the efforts that we put in place to help our students achieve success – however that success is defined for them.”
One of the greatest barriers she realized our students face? Money.
That’s why, outside of her job duties, Okema also supports the TCC Educational Foundation with donations toward scholarships for low income students.
For her, these financial contributions provide vital opportunities to our most vulnerable scholars.
“I was on financial aid just like so many other students,” Okema said. “My parents did not have the resources to pay for my education. I want to afford the opportunity to someone to attain their education. I know the importance of that.”
Involvement with philanthropy and giving also strengthens Okema’s connection with the college – and its mission.
She credits Michelle Woodhouse, Provost of the Portsmouth Campus, for crystallizing her role in student services and a leader: “Dr. Woodhouse has proven to me that you can see beyond what someone can see in themselves,” Okema said. “Had she not given me opportunities to grow I would not be in the position to help others now. If you want to see what we do here at TCC continue and grow – you will give back.”
If you’re thinking of donating to the Foundation, Okema urges you to pick a cause that resonates with your passions: “Think about why you’re here. The impact you can make in the lives of the people you touch – whether that’s in academics or student services – is huge.”