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At AACC, we have more examples of inspiring students than we can count.

A quick look at our student body will reveal stories that warm the soul and fire the imagination, from those who succeed despite many obstacles to star athletes, and from those who realize a dream by starting a business or transfer to a four-year institution to fulfill an educational goal. 

Student Stories


Non-Traditional Students Gain a Traditional Diploma

Feature Story — In October the most recent crop of AACC’s School of Continuing Education and Workforce Development students celebrated its 20th Maryland High School Diploma Student Recognition Ceremony. That night 49 people walked on to a stage and off toward a brighter future with a diploma in hand.

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Writing His Own Story (and Code)

Feature — You could say Stephen Sala had good reason to believe the Coast Guard would be his career. “My father, my grandfather and my grandfather’s father were all in the Coast Guard,” he said. “It was always my goal to do the same.”

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Natallia Okhrimenko: Commitment. Excellence. Community.

Feature — When she came to the United States from Ukraine five years ago, Natallia Okhrimenko thought that, along with a new address, she also would take the opportunity to start a new career. Her father worked his entire life in the restaurant business, often taking her on the job when she was a small girl. “I was always wondering what it looks like to work in hospitality,” she said. “When I came here, I decided to try.”

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William Knott: Foundation. Quality. Advancement.

William Knott likes working with food. So much in fact, the Anne Arundel Community College Hotel, Culinary Arts, and Tourism Institute grad has made it not only his career, but also a hobby.

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Roots. Confidence. Value.

Alex Orellana’s love for cooking came from a childhood in his El Salvadorian grandmother’s kitchen. So for him, food has long been synonymous with family.

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Mentorship. Support. Growth.

As a military latchkey kid experimenting in the kitchen, Ricky Rice loved every step of the process. “I thought I’d be a food critic someday because I loved to eat so much, but I channeled that into cooking instead,” he said.

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Team. Family. Professional.

When Kurt Peter attended Lynchburg College to play lacrosse and earn a sports management and business degree, he thought he was moving far from his high school summers in a country club kitchen. Turns out it was just a pause.

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Music to Her Tastebuds

Five years ago, if you had told Carrie Svoboda she’d be making a fig and apple tarte tartin with orange spiced ice cream and raspberry sauce for a three Michelin star chef in Scotland, she would’t have believed you. Learn how the former music teacher’s decision to finally pursue her first passion for baking transported her to a once-in-a-lifetime competition in Scotland after enrolling in AACC’s award-winning HCAT program.

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