Second chances

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The following was part of the college’s presentation to the University System of Georgia Board of Regents at its April 2015 meeting.

By Erika Dillingham, class of ‘15
English, Political Science

Erika Dillingham with Roslyn Carter and President Jimmy Carter
GGC 2015 graduate Erika Dillingham (center) with Roslyn Carter and President Jimmy Carter.

What I value most about my educational experience at Georgia Gwinnett College has been a direct result of the school’s commitment to student engagement.

Faculty mentorship, small class sizes and a teaching and learning model that facilitates open dialogue have allowed me to fully engage in the classroom experience so that I not only gained valuable knowledge and insight from my professors, but from other students as well. In fact, on many occasions over the course of my time here, I have been able to contribute to the learning experiences of others in meaningful and lasting ways.

My experience at GGC has been augmented greatly by opportunities to serve in leadership positions in honor societies and other student organizations, to collaborate with students and teachers on service learning and other projects, to present my research and writing at academic conferences, and to take full advantage of every opportunity to prepare for my future career.

“I attribute many of my successes, past, present and future, to Georgia Gwinnett’s model of higher education – because it not only opened a door I thought had closed long ago, but also showed me an entirely new world in which I could play an active and integral part.”

– Erika Dillingham, class of ‘15

I graduated this May with a double major in English and political science and am continuing an internship at The Carter Center’s Global Access to Information program – the chance of a lifetime.

None of this would have been possible, had it not been for Georgia Gwinnett’s policy of open-access.

Erika Dillingham giving presentation to BOR
Listen to Erika Dillingham’s USG Board of Regents presentation below.
(Text transcription.)

When I was young, I faced a number of personal challenges that kept me from living up to my potential as a student, and I did not believe that I could succeed in college. After encouragement from friends and family, I finally found the courage to apply at age 36. Because of my high school academic record, I was initially denied admission to GGC. I wrote a letter of appeal, and I was accepted.

Since that time, I have maintained a 4.0 GPA in both of my majors, received a number of awards and academic scholarships, and obtained my internship at The Carter Center.

I greatly credit the support I have been given by my GGC professors and other faculty and staff over the course of my educational journey. These opportunities would not have been possible had I not been given a second chance to reshape my destiny through the high-quality education here at GGC. I will always be grateful for the mentorship, friendship and support I have received from the faculty, staff and students at GGC.

I look forward, with great anticipation, to the opportunities I will have as a direct result of my GGC experience.

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