Tonya Anderson “After these three years I feel there’s no stopping me. I just wish I could stay forever at SMC.”

“I really love it here, but I guess they’re going to kick me out pretty soon,” says Tonya Anderson with a laugh. “I’ve been studying business and Spanish,” adds the current vice president of the Associated Students. “I’m going into international business and finance to get into world trade and import/export. But I’m also interested in entertainment, so I can foresee a time I’ll be involved in law.”

A bilingual attorney making deals involving international commerce and entertainment might seem to be a pretty “fast track” scenario. But for Tonya, the process of preparing herself has meant a lot of sacrifice and struggle. “When I first came to SMC I was very frustrated,” she recalls. “I’m a single parent and I’d been away from school for ten years. But I met a counselor who made me feel that, yes, I could succeed. It felt good to learn that other single women had done this before me,” she continues. “Now I’d like to be that kind of example for other young women.”

Tonya plans to transfer to UCLA in the fall. “But I’m really involved with a lot of community service now,” she says. “I volunteer for the Soul Train awards show and the NAACP Image awards and the L.A. Marathon.” But perhaps her most fulfilling “public appearance” was one she made recently on behalf of SMC.

“I was invited to speak with two faculty members at a local Jewish temple on the subject of time management,” says Tonya. “And when I’d done that, I felt like I’d worked it all out; I’d been involved in student government, I was going to graduate and I’d been a full-time mother. I’d done it all. I’d made it!”

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