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AACC Students Meet Dr. Jill Biden

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Twelve AACC students had the honor of meeting with Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden, U.S. Undersecretary of Education Dr. Martha Kanter, and AACC President Dr. Martha Smith to discuss student success at AACC. They had to opportunity to tell their stories, respond to questions, and offer suggestions for improving community colleges. Learn more about Dr. Jill Biden's visit and Student Success 2020.


CATHERINE CORNISH – She is a single mother and a veteran. She works part time as a work-study student supporting AACC’s military and veteran initiatives. She is currently on the Honor’s List at AACC with a 4.0 GPA and her long-term goals are to become a physician’s assistant or to own her own radiologic business.

CALVIN DIGGS –  He is a 2009 Summer Bridge student. His father died when he was younger and his mother has had the responsibility of raising him alone. He is the first in his family to attend college and is a Transfer Studies major.

RICHARD FOWLER – The former Northrop employee highlighted in an AACC video was laid off from the defense contractor and is being trained in new certifications as part of the new AAWDC/AACC cybergrant. He’s majoring in networking and operating systems (UNIX/LINUX and Windows).

JUANA LANDAVERDE – She began at AACC as a Jump Start student from South River High School. Originally from El Salvador and unable to speak English when she came to this country, she is one of the first in her family to attend college. She has been instrumental in bringing the value of education to her Hispanic community. She has made great progress toward her goals, although beginning in developmental courses. She maintains over a 3.0 GPA. She has served as a peer mentor for Adelante for the past three years.

CHRISTIAN LEEDS (father) DAN LEEDS (son) – Chris was a locomotive engineer with CSX until he was injured on the job. His son, Dan, had started courses at AACC and thought it would be good for his dad, too. Chris started as a General Studies major but switched to cybersecurity at the suggestion of his son. Both he and his son graduated with an associate degree in the field along with a few industry-recognized certifications. Both Chris and his son now work for a defense contractor in cybersecurity. Chris is currently obtaining more industry certifications in his field with us.

ANA RICO MALAGON – A young single mother, she was a 2009 Adelante student who was petrified to tears to speak in front of a group. By the end of the program she spoke at the closing ceremony and was determined to enroll in all the necessary English as a Second Language courses. She is on a mission to improve her English and earn a degree. She has recruited her older sister, younger brother, and other friends to AACC.

Click here to learn about:

  • OMAR MARGANA
  • PATRICIA E. MCKELDIN
  • MORGAN O’BRIEN
  • SAMANTHA N. SOLOVIEFF
  • NANCY WINN