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"The advice I would give to students just beginning college would be to follow your gut, not to be afraid to ask for help, and to get involved as much as you can."

Tomozia Graves '19, a proud Harford Community College alumna, credits the vast opportunities available at the College with helping her to achieve her goals. She believes most students considering higher education want the whole college experience like that found at a four-year university. "I want other students to know that you’re able to receive that same if not more of a college experience at a community college such as Harford," she said.

"When I started at Harford, I wasn’t quite sure of the exact experience that I would find, but it was more than I expected," she said. Tomozia was active in several organizations including the My College Success Network (MCSN) program where she was a peer mentor. My College Success Network is designed to support African American students at the College, though all students, regardless of ethnicity, are welcome to participate. Tomozia feels the MCSN provides much needed encouragement to many students. "Being in MCSN helped me decide my major – communications. I was also able to speak with someone every two weeks about my life, academics, and more – to take a moment and construct my life around school and see how I was really doing in my classes." Tomozia also participated in the Soar to Success program that offers resources to the campus community on topics of diversity and multiculturalism.

The large number of activities available to HCC students was a pleasant surprise. Tomozia served as secretary in the Student Government Association. She was thrilled to have the opportunity to travel, participating in Student Advocacy Day, the annual legislative event held in Annapolis, and attending the Congressional Black Caucus in Washington, DC. She also worked part-time during her years at Harford.

Tomozia was selected into the 2019 GlobalMindED First-Gen Student Leadership Program whose mission is to create a capable, diverse talent pipeline. She was one of a select group of students from across the globe who was invited to attend the GlobalMindED 2019 First Generation Student Leadership Conference in Denver last June. "What I learned at the GlobalMindED leadership conference was to not be afraid to make a change." She also learned more about the keywords equity, inclusion, and much more.

At HCC, there was always someone available to provide guidance and support. "I have been blessed with so many supporters along my college journey. I would say that other than my family, the HCC staff including Jen (MyersSmith), Jennie (Towner), and Jenny (Jakulin), has helped shape my college experience."

A hard-working student, Tomozia was the recipient of a Harford County Association of Realtors® Foundation scholarship. In addition, she received a Dreams Scholar Award and a National Society of Leadership and Success Honor Society Honor Society Award.

The youngest of six children, Tomozia enjoys music and plays the viola, violin and piano. She also loves to dance and her favorite dance style is hip-hop. She participated in color guard in high school and goes back every year during band camp to volunteer and help new members learn the routines.

Tomozia earned an Associate of Arts degree in Communication Studies from Harford Community College in May 2019. She transferred to Towson University Northeastern Maryland this fall to pursue a B.S. in Communication Studies. Although she is not yet sure of the career she hopes to pursue, she knows that she wants to share her voice and her story. She hopes to one day be a mentor or possibly a motivational speaker to help inspire others.

"The advice I would give to students just beginning college would be to follow your gut, not to be afraid to ask for help, and to get involved as much as you can."

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