CCBC student Sagar Chapagain named 2015 President’s Distinguished Graduate Award recipient
May 14, 2015 | by Hope Davis | 443.840.5053 (office) | 410.971.5560 (cell)
Born in Nepal, Chapagain came to the United States in 2011 and enrolled at CCBC in 2012. As a first-generation college student, he found it challenging to learn the culture, adjust to the language and navigate the American educational system. But, his determination far outweighed any challenges he faced.
“In the beginning, I would describe my CCBC experience as an uphill walk,” said Chapagain. “The first year was very difficult until I encountered Phi Theta Kappa and the Honors program. I became actively involved as an officer and met with many students like me with diverse cultures and educational backgrounds.”
As time progressed, Chapagain not only thrived, he excelled. While working full-time, he managed to take a full course load, remain involved in campus activities and maintain a 4.0 GPA. Described by a professor as having "exceptional academic abilities, a great work ethic, diverse experience and a high level of professionalism,” Chapagain constantly sought opportunities that would enhance his educational experience and desire to become a doctor. During the summer of 2014 he was one of 80 students accepted into a Summer Medical and Dental Education program at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. This summer, he will intern at the Community College Summer Enrichment Program at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md.
He claims none of this would have been possible without the mentoring and support he received at CCBC where his professors always challenged him to reach higher.
“At times when life was tough, many professors encouraged me to look at the bigger picture and work harder,” Chapagain said.
So that’s exactly what he did. Now Chapagain is graduating from CCBC with two degrees -- an Associate of Science and an Associate of Arts. Although he has yet to decide which four-year university he will attend in the fall, he has already received several scholarship offers including the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship worth up to $40,000.
As the 2015 President’s Distinguished Graduate, Chapagain says he’s amazed by the opportunities presented to him throughout his CCBC journey. He feels privileged to deliver the commencement speech, where he hopes to present a message of “hope.”
“If someone like me from such humble beginnings can do it, you can definitely make it,” he said. “I believe that we make our own limitations. When you push yourself, you can work miracles.”
About the Community College of Baltimore County (www.ccbcmd.edu)
CCBC offers hundreds of programs and thousands of courses helping people of all ages, backgrounds and interests earn degrees, transfer, launch or advance careers, and prepare for in-demand jobs.
Providing accessible, affordable and high-quality education since 1957, CCBC educates more than 70,000 students each year, including half of all Baltimore County residents attending college in Maryland as undergraduates. Committed to student success and the development of lifelong learners who strengthen our regional workforce and enrich our community, CCBC has also been selected to participate in Achieving the Dream, a national student success initiative. In 2011, the Chronicle of Education honored CCBC as one of only 26 community colleges across the nation named “Great Colleges to Work For.”
CCBC is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 3624 Market Street, 2nd Floor West, Philadelphia, PA 19104 (267-284-5000). The Middle States Commission on Higher Education is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
CCBC. The incredible value of education.