Nieka McCovery “The clubs at SMC: that’s where you learn the ‘secrets’ of how it all works. Black Collegians or International Students, you’ve got to belong.”

One club that you won’t find at SMC is one that Nieka McCovery has joined, unofficially, with her best friend on campus. “We go out with about 20 friends and have ‘paint ball’ wars, shooting each other down,” says Nieka with a laugh. “It’s a great way to relieve stress. But ultimately, it’s survival of the fittest.” Nieka admits there’s “a child in me that just loves to play. And I’d like to put that to practice as a child psychologist. I deeply love children, and I’d like to help the ones who are troubled to really find structure in their world.”

The product of a tiny K-12 magnet school, Nieka insists that “speaking well is going to be a part of my future. I was always encouraged to speak in my high school, and it led me to this conclusion: if you learn nothing else, learn how to argue and make yourself evident, especially with your teachers.” And Nieka has some very good things to say about her teachers at SMC. “I’ve never had a teacher here who didn’t make me feel that they were happy with—and interested in—their work. With an attitude like that,” she continues, “it’s really pretty easy to feel good about showing up for classes.”

Nieka reports that—through club activities—she recently discovered SMC’s University Transfer Program (UTP). “I’m always in the library doing research and using the computers,” she says. “But being involved in the campus clubs—getting the first-hand knowledge from other students—is the key to making SMC really work for you.”

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