Lonnette Howell “A road leads nowhere unless you walk it. You’re responsible for yourself and no one is going to get you where you want to be unless it’s yourself.”

There are few people in this world whose strength, determination and dreams can survive the harshest and most adversarial of conditions. But Lonnette Howell is one of them. “For most of my childhood, we were homeless,” Lonnette recalls. “We moved around, lived here and there, and there…and there… It was tough.” But instead of continuing on a road that so often ends in despair and hopelessness, Lonnette picked herself up and built a life. She first pursued a career in fashion design, graduating from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising and working in the industry for some time. But the satisfaction with the job just wasn’t there, and Lonnette had never given up on a childhood dream.

“Ever since I was 13, I wanted to study architecture, but I never got a chance to do it,” she says. “I consider it a very good field to go into, something that is reliable in the future because we’ll always have to build and rebuild and so we’re always going to need architects.” Lonnette currently supports herself and her three-year old son by working on campus in the costume shop of the Theater Arts Department. But she’s also taking computer programming classes so that she’ll be qualified for a more lucrative job in that field. Then she plans to transfer into the architectural program at Cal Poly Pomona.

“I just found that architecture’s my passion, something I really love,” Lonnette says. “That’s also why I feel so comfortable at SMC. I love the structure and the layout of the campus. It creates a great atmosphere that makes me feel very much at home.”

Read more stories from present and past years in the SMC Student Spotlight Archive.