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Ayanna Sterling

Ayanna Sterling
Ayanna Finds Her Path in Business

Ayanna Sterling lived in Pasadena, Md., until 2014, when she moved to Columbia. Her new home was about five minutes from Howard Community College (HCC), and she decided to enroll after graduating from Wilde Lake High School.

Considering her love of fashion, she thought art would be the perfect major. However, she noticed some shifting after beginning her studies at HCC.

“I was interested in fashion design when I graduated from high school,” Sterling says. “But as time went on, I was more interested in the business side of fashion. So, I switched over to business.”

Now, Sterling is completing her associate degree in Business, Leadership, and Technology while taking classes at the University of Maryland. She is pursuing a bachelor’s in communications to complement her interests in fashion and design.

Sterling says Wilde Lake’s proximity, coupled with HCC’s popularity, made college feel familiar when she arrived. “But I did see some new faces, too,” she says. “That was nice. I also noticed a lot of diversity within the staff. I was surprised. There’s a lot of diversity not only with the students, but the faculty, too. It makes me really comfortable.”

The experience has made her comfortable off campus too. She has taken advantage of workshops on career building, interviewing, and writing resumes. “There’s just a lot of resources to better yourself and grow as a person.”

Sterling hopes high school students in Howard County don’t take the resources for granted. “A lot of students who need guidance can go to HCC and get that guidance,” she says. “And there are transfer programs that offer guaranteed spots at certain four-year schools.”

She didn’t need any convincing before making her decision to attend HCC, but she’s ready to sway any students who might be uncertain about following her path.

“I would tell them to go,” she says. “Community college is great because you can save lots of money your first two years and get a degree and transfer. But even if you don’t transfer, you can go ahead and work.

“HCC is really diverse and a good way to connect with people who aren’t like you,” she says. “That’s great, because you can get different perspectives.”

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