Congratulations to our Spring 2020 graduates! Graduation is always a significant accomplishment and a time for celebration. Even though we can't celebrate in person with a Spring commencement ceremony due to the ongoing pandemic, we still want to celebrate virtually and encourage sharing of this page as a way to mark the occasion. Graduates, you did it! Best of luck for your strong future.
While her athleticism dominated the court with an All-American award for performance, Diamond’s mental skills were just as refined. The STEM student was named an All-American in academics. She is also in the Future Scientists of Ohio Scholarship Program. Quite an achievement for a 19-year-old with high aspirations.
She says the coaches and staff in the Athletic Department were a vital support group that helped her become a successful student. And fellow students, faculty, and advisors in the STEM program became friends and mentors. She says they were the biggest help when it came to scheduling classes and preparing for the future.
“Being surrounded by passionate students that are wanting to do well in school helped create an environment of dedication,” says Diamond. “I realized who I am as a person and who I want to become thanks to the Columbus State experience.”
Diamond is graduating with an Associate of Science with an emphasis in welding and engineering – two of her passions. And she says her grandmother early on encouraged her to take that path.
In 2019, she was introduced to an underwater welder. “I had never heard of that occupation, so I looked into it and loved it,” she says. “I have taken scuba diving lessons and was intrigued at the idea of combining both welding and engineering with underwater diving.”
Diamond says it’s a job where engineers fix the bottom of boats and oil rigs. “For me, I would love to come up with an environmentally friendly way to save the earth, starting with cleaning up our waters. Large structures, such as wave-powered plants, help save the air from pollutants. One day I’d love to make my contribution to saving the earth.”
Diamond will transfer to Ohio State University for a bachelor’s degree in welding. The long-range goal includes studying at the Divers Institute of Technology in Seattle to earn an underwater welding degree. With that, Diamond says she will be able to be an underwater welder for a large company or corporation.
Abigail (Abby) Kirov
Before arriving six years ago, she was already in the health care field working at OhioHealth Heart & Vascular as a medical assistant. “I have always wanted to be a nurse, but I was scared that I wasn’t smart or strong enough to make it through the program,” says Kirov.
She started with random classes and considered Surgical Technology because surgery had always interested her. When that didn’t work out, Kirov says, at that time, she was working with nurses and nurse practitioners very closely. Her sister also happens to be a nurse. “My sister told me that she had all the confidence in the world that I should also be a nurse.”
With the support of her husband and family, it convinced Kirov to be brave and apply. “The program was challenging as a new mom and full-time medical assistant. I shed a lot of tears, I missed important family moments, and worked harder than ever.”
She gives high marks to the Columbus State faculty. “Whether it was answering emails, arranging meetings, or even giving a few minutes of their time during open lab or after class, they never missed a beat. They know how challenging the program is, but their confidence and support never wavered. I could not have asked for anything more from the instructors and professors in the Nursing Program. I am so thankful.”
Now, six years later, she’s ready for a new lease on life. “I am graduating with all those people ready to celebrate my accomplishment, including my little addition along the way, my two-year-old son. I am so proud that I decided to be brave because, as it turns out, I am smart and strong, look at me now!”
Kirov remains with OhioHealth in the Med-Surg Fellowship to become a full-time nurse. The Fellowship is a nine-week program where she will work as a full-time registered nurse, closely monitored by managers and preceptors. It’s an orientation and onboarding process for placement into a high-need medical/surgical unit.
Columbus State’s Abel Kifle Andebrhan is one of the rare students who will graduate from college ahead of their high school graduation. The 18-year-old receives his Associate of Science degree several weeks ahead of his graduation from Pickerington North High School.
Andebrhan began taking Columbus State classes his freshman year in high school as part of Ohio’s College Credit Plus program (CCP). That initiative allows students to take college-level courses tuition-free while earning college and high school credits. Over four years, he earned enough credits to receive his associate degree while still in high school.
“College Credit Plus was a great option for me, and as long as the opportunity is presented to more students, more people will take advantage of it,” says Andebrhan. “I had to learn a lot about time management and to balance everything with work and social life, but I made it happen because it's important to me.”
Andebrhan is a first-generation college graduate in his family. They arrived in the United States from Eritrea in 1998, four years before his birth. He says his father stressed the importance of a college education. “My dad often talked about how important it was to get a head start on college. The College Credit Program allowed me to do just that.”
Although he was working hard to complete a college degree, he made time for high school activities. Andebrhan was a member of the varsity soccer team, and he played cello in the Pickerington North High School orchestra.
Andebrhan has received a full-tuition scholarship to Ohio State University (OSU), where he plans to study neuroscience and psychology. He is already involved with an Eritrean/Ethiopian cultural organization through OSU and says that he can have an impact as a role model to other students with similar backgrounds. He co-founded and is the chairman of HIDRI Columbus, a group that embraces and teaches Eritrean culture and history.
Says Andebrhan, “My goal is to repay the sacrifices my parents have made so that I can have a brighter future.”
She started with a few steps at a time, taking only seven credit hours the first semester in 2018 as a part-time student. Working full-time in sales made it difficult to take more hours. But then she had an epiphany. “I realized the sales job was not my end goal,” she says. “So I left a job I loved and took a part-time job which allowed me to take hold of my education goals and be a full-time student.”
She compliments the many “wonderful” professors who help make her degree a reality. “I loved my online courses and the fact that Columbus State offers a wide variety of classes.” By taking classes all three semesters – autumn, spring, and summer – she graduated a semester earlier than expected, despite starting as a part-time student.
In addition, Davis says the Delaware and Westerville campuses played an important role in her success. “They allowed me to get my education without having to drive to the Columbus Campus.” She was able to take many of her tests at the Delaware Campus Testing Center.
Davis will take her Associate of Arts degree and transfer to Ohio State-Newark this fall to obtain her bachelor’s degree in Middle Childhood Education followed by a master’s degree in Psychology.
And she has advice for students of all ages: “Always chase your dreams and don't let yourself get in your own way! I put off my education in fear of failure, only to realize that not trying IS failing! It doesn't matter how old you are. You can still do what you've always wanted. Make a choice to take control of your future and drown yourself with positive thoughts; you can do this!”
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