Hear from current Dickinson students who came from our partner institutions. Learn about why they chose to come to Dickinson and what they are gaining from their experience here academically, socially and personally.

Nadia ElFallah '11

Community College: Montgomery College
Major at Dickinson: Middle East Studies
Extracurricular involvements: Alpha Phi Omega, MOB, Relay For Life, Liberty Cap Society Tour Guide, Senior Class Gift Drive Committee, Student Philanthropy, Leadershape, and Wheel and Chain

Q: What made you decide to attend a community college?

A: During my senior year of high school, I was not sure what I wanted out of my college experience. I knew that I wanted to experience the “college dream,” going to football games, living in a dorm room, meeting new friends, exploring my academic interests, etc. However, I knew that the schools that I was looking at were too big and I was afraid of not being able to assimilate into a larger school, socially and academically. With that said, I decided to go to my community college. I applied to the Renaissance Scholars Program, which was an honors program at the Germantown, Md., campus. I really enjoyed the small classroom size and the attention I had from my professors.

Q: How did you know that Dickinson was right for you, and what brought you to Dickinson?

A: After spending two years at a community college, I knew that I needed to be part of a community where I could continue to engage with my peers as well as faculty. I first learned about Dickinson through my mentor who was helping to organize the new partnership between my community college (Montgomery College) and Dickinson College. I remember going to the partnership meeting. I had just finished my application and still was not sure where I wanted to go. I remember the president eloquently explaining the elements of a “distinctive” Dickinson education in cohesion with the community college experience. At that time, I knew that I wanted to be part of the Dickinson community. Once I visited the campus, I knew that it was the right fit.

What I love about Dickinson College is the history of the mission of the college to the present day. Dickinsonians have a distinct identity. From the core of a liberal arts education, you have the opportunity to learn about so many things. To add on to that, you can view your education through a variety of different lenses of a Dickinson education – study abroad, sustainability, different classes, conversations with friends and professors, Clarke forum lectures, and many more.

Coming to Dickinson, I was eager to pursue my interests in international relations and the Middle East. I was also looking for similar qualities to my community college experience – small class sizes, access to professors, and the ability to become part of a community.

Q: What are some meaningful/exciting opportunities you’ve had during your time at Dickinson, either academically or through extracurriculars?

A: One of my first memories at Dickinson is Convocation. Signing into the college and officially becoming a Dickinsonian. I love that tradition! Walking down the academic quad for the first day of class, and being so excited to begin a new chapter in my education. My Arabic class with Professor Blosser was a unique experience. The class was small, and we all became a family by the end of the year. “Lasting All Night” at Relay For Life. My first time at Project Share where a Carlisle resident thanked me for helping with distribution day.  Being honored as a member of the Wheel and Chain Society.

Q: What is the greatest benefit for you personally of being at Dickinson?

A: Being at Dickinson, one of the greatest benefits for me personally is having the opportunity to develop my own academic interests. I had the opportunity during the summer of 2010 to receive a grant through the Middle East Department to do research in Libya for my senior thesis. It was an amazing experience abroad; I had the chance to practice speaking Arabic as well as develop my own interests in the Middle East through my research.

Q: How do you think your liberal-arts education will benefit you after graduation? How is Dickinson preparing you for the wider world? What do you plan to do after Dickinson?

A: A liberal arts education has allowed me to develop a worldview based on my coursework to the different lectures I attended on campus, and discussions I have had with professors and peers. Just by having the opportunity to learn about a variety of subjects and filtering them through my own interests has allowed me to engage the world from my own unique perspective.

Bertha Flores ’12

Community College: Montgomery College
Major at Dickinson: Policy Management
Extracurricular involvements: Latin American Club, Bonner Leadership Program, President’s Commission for Women

Q: What made you decide to attend a community college?

A: I applied to Montgomery College not only because of its affordability, but also because I liked the diversity of the campus, small class size and the different clubs and activities available to students. I also applied because of the Macklin Business Institute, which is a selective honors business program that my sophomore year I had the privileged to be a part of.

Q: What brought you to Dickinson?

A: It was because of the strong educational foundation I got at Montgomery College that I was able to transfer to Dickinson College. I applied to Dickinson because I was interested in a small school with small classes. The global focus in the classes offered was another reason I knew Dickinson would be the right place for me.

Q: What is the greatest benefit for you personally to being at Dickinson?

A: I have been forced to step outside of my comfort zone, which has led to my discovery of a side of me I didn’t know existed. The experiences I have had so far have enhanced and complemented my learning effectively here at Dickinson.

Q: How do you think your liberal-arts education will benefit you after graduation?

A: The global education offered at this institution strengthens my belief that upon graduation I will be able to evaluate issues with a global perspective. My learning goes well beyond the classroom and I look forward to implementing these valuable lessons in the workplace. After graduation I plan to work at a nonprofit or a nongovernmental organization committed to making education possible for underserved populations.

Q: What advice would you offer to community college students considering transferring?

A: Do a lot of research on the institutions that attract you. Go visit them during a weekday, walk around campus, sit in a class and talk to faculty and students. Find out the most you can about a school so that you know whether you will be a good fit, not only academically but also culturally.

Darrell Pacheco '12

Community College: Northampton Community College
Major at Dickinson: Political Science
Extracurricular involvements: African-American Society; MANdatory Leadership Program

Q: What made you decide to attend a community college?

A: The affordability was a huge driving point. Attending a NCC was an excellent choice for me because it allowed me a great start to a successful college career without the heavy debt burden.

Q: What brought you to Dickinson?

A: NCC was the right place for me to start my college career. I enjoyed my two years and graduated with honors. The continuation of my education at that point became very important and the opportunity to attend Dickinson was a blessing to myself and my family. I was searching for a small school that had a sense of community and that was liberal arts focused. I wanted a uniquely tailored experience and Dickinson provided that.

Q: What are some meaningful/exciting opportunities you’ve had during your time at Dickinson, either academically or through extracurriculars?

A: I had the opportunity to partake in the MANdatory leadership program headed by Norm Jones. It is an amazing program and it is providing me with tons of in sight into Dickinson and "the Dickinson way." Also, I was recently selected to attend a trip to new york city sponsored by the career center to network with alumni that work in the financial sector. It was an invaluable experience to talk to these amazing individuals and get their first hand take on the industry as well as obtaining advice relating to employment within the field. It has definitely been the highlight of my fall semester.

Q: What is the greatest benefit for you personally of being at Dickinson?

A: The exposure to so much knowledge! Dickinson is an amazing place to meet individuals with fantastic ideas and views on topics that are abstract and different than your own. I always find myself engaged in some deep conversations whether it be over dinner or just in my residence hall about topics ranging from religion to physics to cultural imperialism. The learning never really ends. Inside the classroom and the library are only small components of the educational learning here at Dickinson.

Q: How do you think your liberal-arts education will benefit you after graduation? How is Dickinson preparing you for the wider world? What do you plan to do after Dickinson?

A: My liberal-arts education will serve me well after Dickinson because I will have the advantage of viewing things from a broader view than others. The liberal arts really train you to view issues/problems/situations from a multiplicity of angles. Also, the ability to write clearly, concisely, and with purpose (all things taught at Dickinson) really will come in handy during the job hunt and in the working world as well. After Dickinson I plan to enter the workforce particularly the banking sector.

Q: What advice would you offer to community college students considering transferring?

A: Come with an enthusiasm to learn. There is much to be learned at Dickinson and very little time! Also, don't be afraid to venture outside of what you want to major in and study. There is much to be gained from other disciplines that would help you immensely in yours. Lastly, come with an open mind. Ask questions, join clubs, and make the most of the experience.