Sh’ron Saunders “I came here just to get my Associate’s degree. But as a result of how competitive SMC is, I’m not settling for that; I’m going to go directly for my Masters.”

She’s one of a kind, and not just because she’s the VP of the International Speakers Forum and stands a good head taller than most people at SMC. “I’m the only Bahamian here, and I haven’t met anyone from home since I came to California,” says Sh’ron Saunders. “It can be incredibly lonely for international students here, believe me. My first semester, I cried and cried. But after I got involved with my club, I started making friends that I know will be with me over my whole lifetime.”

Sh’ron plans on one day joining the diplomatic corps to represent her country around the world. “I think I could be very valuable to my country as a foreign affairs specialist to promote Bahamian interests,” she says. “There’s not a lot known about the Bahamas outside my country: I even had one person here ask me if we were part of Africa,” she says with a rueful laugh. “But we are an important place on the map. We’re made up of some 700 islands, and though only 17 are inhabited, we are growing and developing enormously.” Sh’ron adds, “I’m the first in my family to go to college, but now I’ve got a younger sister following me. And I enjoy being a role model for her—and for my country.”

Sh’ron states that it’s the excellence of SMC students themselves that has led her to outstrip her own expectations of herself. “I’m even working now as a TA for a human development class here. And I can honestly say to them, ‘Two years ago, I was right where you guys are. And I’m here to tell you this: This college gives you everything you’ll ever need to go for your dreams.’”

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