Joe Caxton Odawa


Joe Caxton OdawaClosing the Distance

Joe knows something about the distance to a dream and, more importantly, the importance of bridging that distance. In 2020, he left his birth country of Kenya to pursue his goal of studying in the U.S. Soon after arriving in California, he enrolled at Santa Monica College after being told it was the best transfer school. He soon found out it was so much more.

“The community here is so good,” Joe says. “Everyone is very inviting.” He added that some of his best experiences during his time here have been with two groups he joined, MOCAN and Black Collegians. “Sometimes, we do talks. Other times, we have barbecues and anime movie nights or play games — basketball, flag football, you can connect with others as friends, not just classmates.”

Joe graduates today with an Associate degree in Geography, a field that offers plenty of room for exploration. “It’s a branch with many stems,” Joe observes. “It’s a broad field, so I can easily switch from one focus to another if I need to. Urban planning, environmental science, transportation — there are a lot of possibilities.”

As he embarks on the next leg of his higher education journey at Cal State Long Beach, Joe hopes to do much less traveling — at least on a daily basis.

“I hope to experience what it’s like to live on campus every day,” he confesses with a smile. “Staying until it’s late and then taking that short walk to your dorm. I want that college experience.”