A difficult home life led me drop out of high school to work full-time. I had failing grades and lacked the confidence to enroll in college. It was a downward spiral and something had to change. I earned my GED and with great trepidation, enrolled at HCC with the help of a $1,000 grant. To my surprise, great professors made the process of learning an exhilarating experience, and I was a good student. One professor in particular, Tina Fujita, was key in helping me discover my math ability. She took time to explain why things were done and how they were applicable. It just clicked for me! Small class sizes were hugely beneficial in gaining one-on-one time with professors. Another mentor, Alice Webb in the Success Center at the Plant City campus, hired me to tutor prep math in my second semester. This ignited my passion for teaching. Ultimately, I was awarded an Honors Institute Presidential Scholarship that paid my full tuition. I graduated from HCC with an A.A. in Liberal Arts and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting from the University of South Florida. Today, I am certified as a CPA, CFE, and CGMA, and also work as a full-time accounting instructor at The University of Tampa. HCC started me on the path to success.