Growing up within walking distance of Howard Community College (HCC), sophomore Jim Nwalal knew early on what the college had to offer.
The life science major often passed the campus on his way to and from high school track meets, and his older brother, who attended HCC shortly after Nwalal’s family moved to Columbia from Cameroon, had a positive experience at the school.
But it wasn’t until Nwalal joined Howard P.R.I.D.E., a program that encourages academic, professional, and personal development of Black male students, that he truly felt connected to the college.
“My brother and his friend were in Howard P.R.I.D.E,” Nwalal recalled. “His friend had come back to be the leader of a Howard P.R.I.D.E cohort, and he officially introduced me to the program. That’s when I knew I was officially in college. After that, I met more of the leaders and built relationships with them, which led me to become a more involved student.”
Nwalal, a member of HCC’s track and field team, described Howard P.R.I.D.E. as a “community within a community.” Through the program, he and several of his friends and teammates have received tutoring services and participated in social and community service events. Nwalal has also received two Howard P.R.I.D.E. scholarships, as well as the St. John’s Baptist Church Family Foundation scholarship and the Maxim Charitable Foundation scholarship, to help cover his tuition and fees.
“These scholarships really alleviated a lot of pressure off of me and my parents for these past two years,” he said. “I’m really grateful for that.”
Nwalal said he’s also thankful for the challenging academic and athletic environment at HCC. He was recently invited to join Phi Theta Kappa, an international honor society for two-year colleges.
“The classes that you’re taking are classes that are at the level of a four-year school,” he said. “Even if you know what you want to do, I recommend going to a community college because you save a lot of money and you get a lot of experience. That can help you solidify your interest in your career.”
Nwalal plans to graduate from HCC this spring and then attend a four-year college, where he will study public health. His goal is to become a physician or hospital administrator.
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