Student Success Stories

Student Success Stories

Alonzo Success photo

Alonzo Conyers

How can studying abroad impact your life? Just ask Alonzo Conyers.

“I want to work for a film or television company, so I chose Central Piedmont Community College because of its digital film and videography program, Global Learning Office and the many resources it offers the students,” he said.

One of those resources is study abroad. Alonzo jumped at the opportunity to travel with Central Piedmont Global Learning to Ecuador and loved every minute of it. Once he returned, he joined many other student organizations, such as Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), MAN UP and even became a Foundation Ambassador and N.C. Scholar of Global Distinction.

Everything was going as planned for Alonzo until his father passed away in April 2018. “Last semester was the hardest time of my life,” he said. “I questioned whether I wanted to continue my education at all or study abroad again in Peru and accept an offer to work at either Telecinco or TigoUne – television companies based in Colombia,” he said. “But I knew my father would not want me to quit.”

So he decided to resume his journey. “If I didn’t continue my education, I wouldn’t have been offered the amazing opportunity to work at Siemens or I wouldn’t have been offered an internship at the Toronto International Film Festival,” he said.

“These experiences increased my employability and made me a better person. I got the chance to learn about different cultures and I also learned many things about myself just by being abroad,” he said.

Briany Success Photo

Briany Santos-Villalobos

Briany Santos-Villalobos has faced much uncertainty in life. The summer before her senior year of high school, her grandmother was diagnosed with stage four stomach cancer. Briany’s father was the oldest child and selflessly dipped into their savings to help cover medical costs, which brought uncertainty to Briany’s college plans.

“Higher education no longer seemed like a plausible dream, so I kind of abandoned it,” Briany said. “My counselor didn’t want me to give up so easily and advised me to attend Central Piedmont Community College since I had already taken courses as a Career and College Promise student. I took her advice, applied for the Presidential Scholarship to offset costs and I got it.”

Since becoming a student, Briany was accepted into the N.C. Scholars of Global Distinction. Coordinator Teresa Hall asked Briany if she was interested in studying abroad. Her immediate answer was yes, but the reoccurring uncertainty of covering the cost resurfaced. “While looking over the programs, Ms. Julie Grahl encouraged me to apply for the prestigious Gilman Scholarship through the U.S. Department of State,” she said. Briany applied, received the scholarship and is set to study abroad in Peru this summer – a perfect opportunity for this aspiring doctor.

“I am looking forward to the service-learning project,” she said. “We will be helping kids going through chemotherapy and I will be participating in a midwife program.”

Whatever future opportunities arise for Briany, we are confident she will find a way to make it happen. “If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity, but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!” - Richard Branson