Nearly two decades after graduating high school, Rama Thaher-Sawalhi decided to take the plunge and start college. But with three children, she needed an affordable school close to home that enabled her to balance her life as a student and as a mother. CCBC was the perfect fit.
CCBC 2022 graduate
Human Services Counseling
“Six years ago, I came to CCBC with a big dream and no idea how to get there,” said Rama, a 2022 President’s Distinguished Graduate finalist. “It was here where I found my passion and a pathway to achieve my future career goals.” Rama took classes at her own pace, at first just one per semester. She gradually added more and became a fixture on campus, often being called “the face of CCBC.” She was a member of the CCBC Honors program, the Philosophy Club, Ethics Bowl debate team, a Student Ambassador, Student Blogger and part-time administrative assistant, and she represented the college as part of the CCBC Fresh Faces team.
“I enjoy giving back to the school I love and call my second home,” she said. “I want everyone to learn about all of the resources and help I got here at CCBC. I genuinely believe that starting your higher education journey at a community college is setting yourself up to successfully achieve your goals.”
In 2021, Rama was presented with the Student Life Pinnacle Award for inspiring others to get involved, serving as a strong role model for CCBC students, acting as a resource for student leaders and all CCBC students and consistently demonstrating positive leadership qualities. Receiving this award is a testament to how much Rama has grown as a student and person. Once fearful of public speaking, she has put those days behind her. Having engrossed herself in college activities, Rama now can be seen presenting at board meetings, sharing at conferences and even talking to the press. She now has aspirations of being an inspirational speaker.
After graduating from CCBC with an associate degree in Human Services Counseling and a certificate in Functional Nutrition and Holistic Healing, she plans to open her own holistic healing practice, helping clients with both their mental and physical health. Her program will focus on prevention and educating people about the positive effect a healthy lifestyle can have on the body. She would also like to become an inspirational speaker.
“I have a vision of helping people who live in underserved communities and people who live in countries where there is war and oppression,” she said. “I want my voice to reach the hearts of people who really need and want to improve and transform.” No matter where life takes her, Rama says she will never forget where she started.
“It all happened at CCBC,” she said. “I have so much love for this place, and I don’t think I have enough words to express it. It was here where I became who I am today.”