PDCCC alumna overcomes cultural and educational challenges in U.S.

Published 2:39 pm Saturday, August 4, 2018

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Alice Adoga had no particular predictions of what lie ahead when she moved to this country. After all, she was more than 6,600 miles away from the only place she knew as home — West Africa, Nigeria.

That was 11 years ago. “I was filled with imagination of what was to be and the fear of the unknown,” Adoga recalled. Now working as a family services specialist at the City of Franklin Department of Social Services, Adoga is making a difference in the lives of the children and families she serves.

“My job provides me with the opportunity to impact lives within this community and to bring about positive change,” she said. “My primary role at the moment is working with families and children in foster care. I also complete family assessments and investigate reported child abuse and neglect.”

But the road to her success was not often an easy one. Despite dealing with cultural and educational system differences, she, along with the help of the guidance counselor, pushed through her senior year at Franklin High School, where she graduated in 2008.

Alice Adoga is as passionate about working out as she is about helping families through her social services career.

“I made a decision to work toward the woman I am today, and to take advantage of every opportunity I encounter,” the 29-year-old said.

Although Paul D. Camp Community College was not her first choice in which to enroll, it proved to be a beneficial step on her educational path. Adoga had been accepted to Chowan University on a 4-year leadership scholarship, however, out-of-state tuition would have still cost her more than she could afford without taking out a loan. Adoga also attempted to enroll at University of Maryland while working in the healthcare field there, but that resulted in discouragement as well. At her mother’s insistence, she agreed to enroll at PDCCC.

“My decision to attend PDCCC became a gateway to how far I’ve grown academically,” she said. “I received so much guidance and support from the staff and faculty.”

However, Adoga was able to grow in more ways than one at PDCCC, as was evident when she was selected to serve as a Presidential Student Ambassador, inducted into Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and became an active member in Student Support Services, the Student Leadership Committee and the Student Government Association.

“PDCCC also provided an opportunity to study with non-traditional students,” she said. “It created a unique learning dynamic that bridges the gap between real life lessons and textbook knowledge. I enjoyed learning with people of different age groups.”

After Adoga graduated from PDCCC with an associate’s degree in General Studies in 2011, she continued her studies at George Mason University, earning a Bachelor of Art degree in 2013 in Psychology. She then attained a Master of Art degree in Human Services Counseling in 2016 from Liberty University. But to get here was not without its struggles.

“Although I received financial aid, it wasn’t enough to cover all of my educational expenses,” she said. “I had to buy some of my textbooks out-of-pocket.”

Another challenge for Adoga was that she was lacking in grammar, so she experienced difficulty writing research papers. “I worked closely with all of my English teachers and professors in high school and college,” she said. “I also had several tutors who assisted me.

Adoga said that PDCCC is a good place to start before a student transfers to another four-year college or university.

“The road to your future is not always a straight one,” she advised. “Don’t let the twists and turns stop you. When there is a road block, find a detour. Sometimes it’s best to let go of our expectations and just enjoy the experiences that life presents us. Be kind to yourself throughout your journey, and also help others along the way.”

The family services specialist loves the fact that she is employed in her chosen field of study and notes that it is very rewarding work. “It is my goal in life to continue to serve those who are suffering and to provide hands-on support through counseling to alleviate life crises throughout the country, and globally,” she said.

Adoga enjoys spending time with family and friends, dancing, working out and traveling. She is a certified Kukuwa African dance instructor, which continues to keep her connected with her country and Africa. Her first dance class will get underway in August in Suffolk.

“I am grateful for my challenges,” she said, “because they led to lifelong friendships and blissful educational experiences.”

WENDY HARRISON is the public relations specialist for Paul D. Camp Community College. She can be reached at wharrison@pdc.edu.