Sema Atavi “I came to SMC because I knew it was the best school for transferring. And, if possible, I want to make it to UCLA.”

“I came here as kind of an adventure five years ago, but then I decided I’d like to stay in America,” says Sema Atavi, who came to SMC from Istanbul, Turkey. “I was working as a stewardess then, and that let me save enough money for an American education. And I have found that SMC is a very good college for international students.” And the Atavi family is nothing if not ‘international’ in its outlook. “I have sisters in London, Germany, and Saudi Arabia, and a brother working in Belgium,” says Sema. “So we don’t get to see each other very often, and we all miss our friends and our country.”

Speaking English, Turkish, and “enough Arabic to save myself if I have to,” Sema plans on eventually working in Europe. But her plan to become a computer programmer has “received a real jump-start at SMC,” she reports. “I want to be involved in database management, but I know that I have so very much to learn. I want to become very good in this field, and the teachers at SMC notice you if you are eager to learn. I have a great teacher—David Israh—who is very nice and is teaching courses never taught before,” says Sema. “But the level of instruction is high in all the studies at SMC,” she continues. “For instance, Terry Green’s classes. He is absolutely the perfect math teacher.”

Sema admits that the growth curve she’s on has been a little stressful. “But I have to work very hard to get ahead in my field because so many people are going into computer studies. And I think that my choice of SMC was a good one. I have been very, very satisfied with the progress I’m making here.”

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