When Vera Ndumbe moved to Rochester from west Central Africa in 2003, she was well on her way to achieving her educational goals, having secured associate’s degrees in business management and administration, sales management and marketing, and public relations and advertising from Cambridge International College in Cameroon.

But she was far from finished.

Ndumbe enrolled at Riverland Community College in Austin and pursued associate’s degrees in science and human services, and art. On the day of her graduation from Riverland, she delivered the Commencement address and set her sights on her next achievement: a bachelor’s degree in social work from Winona State University –Rochester.

The support system of faculty, staff, and peers at WSU-Rochester was one of the greatest resources for Ndumbe.

“WSU is one of the best southeast Minnesota universities,” she said. “I benefited greatly from the experienced faculty and compassionate staff members. WSU taught me that hard work, good values and a fighting spirit will get you very far in life.”

During her two years at WSU, Ndumbe served as president of the Student Association of Social Workers-Rochester and was involved in fundraising to support local social welfare agencies in and around Rochester. She was named to the dean’s list for her academic achievements, all the while fulfilling speaking engagements for the American Association of University Women and International Women’s Day in Rochester.

The best part of Ndumbe’s WSU-Rochester experience happened both in and out of the classroom. She enjoyed sharing the learning experience with classmates that she found to be both smart and considerate, and the internship opportunities she engaged in offered insight into her future and gave her hands-on experience.

“WSU gave me the motivation to make my dream come true,” she said.

Ndumbe and her husband live in Rochester with their three young children and Ndumbe’s mother. Despite her busy family life, she looks forward to pursuing master’s and doctoral degrees while working in her respective field. She hopes one day to teach at an institution of higher education.

“My advice for success is this: Work hard, stay determined, and be resilient.”

Click for information on Spring 2013 Commencement Viewing Options.

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Eric Hawkins

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