Simultaneous Study at Two Community Colleges Paid Off for Working Mom

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Gateway Community College (GCC) and Housatonic Community College (HCC) have a lot in common. They are sister institutions in the same state system of higher education, they offer excellent, affordable academic programs and will  soon share a president when Dr. Paul Broadie II takes the helm at GCC on July 1 after Gateway’s President, Dr. Dorsey Kendrick, retires. This year, the two colleges also share a graduate, Vernay Snow. 
Working mom Snow is a busy woman. For the last few years she has held down two jobs and raised her daughter while simultaneously attending two colleges.
“It has been a struggle, but you just need to keep your eye on the prize,” Snow said. “But it’s paying off now.” This week, she will graduate from GCC and HCC as a double member of the Class of 2017.
Snow earned an associate degree in Human Services from HCC and a second, simultaneous associate degree in Liberal Arts from GCC. With both degrees in hand, she will continue her education as a second semester junior at Western Connecticut State University, pursing a degree in Social Work.
“I want to work with adolescents who have behavioral issues due to mental illness,” Snow said. “These behavioral issues hinder them from learning, and I want to get to the root of the problem and really help them instead of labeling them as bad students.” She hopes to give students who have been “swept under the rug” enough attention and support to help them succeed.

"We are proud that Vernay has accomplished this milestone," President Kendrick said. "Like so many of our students she makes sacrifices to provide a better life for herself and her family while meeting all of the responsibilities that life demands, and she still finds time to engage in the college community and help others. She sets an example for others who come after her, that it can be done with a lot of perseverance, patience and determination, and we congratulate her success."
At GCC, Snow participated in extracurricular activities and was always willing to help others. “I feel like an independent student worker,” Snow joked. “Whatever needs to be done, I get done." She is an active member of the Student Government Association (SGA) and Black Student Association (BSA), helping them organize and run campus events.
Abdur Wali, SGA president and former BSA president, expressed his gratitude: “Vernay goes above and beyond to help students. Every time I call on her for help with an event, Vernay is always willing."
"Vernay’s accomplishments are significant and we are honored to call her a graduate of both Housatonic and Gateway Community College," Dr. Broadie said. "Her commitment to academic success and personal growth while also serving as a student leader on campus is commendable and provides an example for others to emulate. As an Alum of our institutions she will undoubtedly continue her record of successful accomplishments. Like so many students Vernay was able to benefit from the academic programs and services delivered by the exceptional faculty and staff found at both Gateway and Housatonic. Vernay’s achievements provide evidence that the educational impact of Gateway and Housatonic transcend communities and provide opportunities so that dreams can be realized."
Once she completes her bachelor’s degree at Western Connecticut State, Snow plans to pursue her master’s degree. She then plans to attend Southern Connecticut State University for her license in social work (LSW). With her LSW, Snow wants to open her own practice, so that she can pursue her dream of helping others, and provide an active, healthy lifestyle for her daughter.  
Both colleges are proud of Vernay Snow’s determination and commitment, and congratulate her on her remarkable success.

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