My HCC Story: Liuginsa Rosa '20
Editor's Note: This story also appears in the Fall 2022 issue of The Connection, the HCC college magazine.
"For me, Holyoke Community College will always be home. That's where my path to success started.
My family had immigrated to the United States from the Dominican Republic in 2003. We settled in the Bronx. At that time, we only had a couple of pieces of luggage but lots of dreams. My husband and I agreed that the best way to support our three children was for me to be a stay-at-home mom.
None of us knew English. I took a couple of ESL courses at Lehman College. We made a commitment that even though we didn't understand what we heard we would only watch TV in English to make our ears familiar with the sound of the language. Our house looked like a museum with Post-it notes everywhere labeling all the parts of our house in English. We learned very fast.
In 2012, my husband was promoted and transferred to North Carolina. I wanted to do something productive in our new state, so I volunteered with the American Association of Retired Persons and trained to be a tax preparer. I fell in love with what I was doing.
Time passed. Our oldest daughter got married and had two daughters. My husband and I decided to move closer to our family in New York. We settled in East Longmeadow, Mass.
For many years, my husband has been the sole provider, and he does so with grace; he has never ever made me feel inferior for being a stay-at-home mom. However, inside of me was the desire to make our young adult children proud of me and to take control of my personal finances. I knew I wanted to go to UMass and decided to start my journey at a more affordable community college.
Why did I choose HCC? I found plenty of information and resources on the college website, and when I visited the school for the first time I was welcomed like I had been a student there for many years. I felt like I was home. Even though the courtyard looked a little messy when the Campus Center was being renovated, the people I met made the difference.
I always received outstanding support at HCC. My mentor, Professor Leah Russell, always had an open door and guided me through my accounting courses. Through Klara Karol, my career advisor, I learned about the Mass Transfer Program. We met regularly to speak about my progress and became good friends. Transfer Affairs coordinator Mark Broadbent sent me frequent reminders about the courses I needed to take to comply with the requirements for Mass Transfer. Andrew Fletcher, the director of CAPS – the Center for Academic Program Support – gave me the opportunity to work as an accounting tutor and supplemental instructor.
The Green Key and the Phi Theta Kappa honor societies allowed me to connect with other students and contribute to the causes that matter to HCC. I was also a New Student Orientation leader, and that was a door to developing my leadership and public speaking skills, which gave me the confidence at UMass to raise my hand in class. I was never afraid or ashamed to ask for what I needed.
From day one, I was committed to studying hard and keeping good grades so I could transfer to UMass and make my dream a reality. I graduated from HCC in August 2020 with an associate's degree in business administration and a 3.9 GPA. Two years later, on May 13, 2022, I earned a bachelor's degree in business administration in accounting from the Isenberg School of Management at UMass. It was a magical day, where I experienced something that, once upon a time, was just in my dreams.
I am now continuing my education in the Master of Science in taxation program at Bentley University, which will allow me to meet the educational requirements to become a certified public accountant. At UMass, I had the privilege to do two internships at PricewaterhouseCoopers, and I am very proud to tell you that after finishing my master's degree, I will start my professional career at PwC as a full-time tax associate."
PHOTOS: Liuginsa Rosa '20 gives a commencement address to her classmates at the Isenberg School of Management at UMass in May 2022.