2019 Scott Wright Student Essay Contest Winner Leila Roumi

Leila Roumi photo

2019 SEC Winner
Leila Roumi

2016 SEC Winner Paloma Marinelarena

Finding Focus

 I have always had a passion for the arts and dabbled in photography as a long time hobby.  Photography was always kept on the back burner as I worked as a server many years.  Being great with people was always a knack I had, but I knew being a server was not the career I intended on keeping for so long.  

 Some years back I broke my ankle which caused me to lose my serving job.  As a server, I enjoy working with people, but I was never given health insurance, job stability, or even time off for sick days.  But some good came out of this negative experience of breaking my ankle.  Getting an x-ray at the hospital opened up my eyes to the field of radiography.  It dawned on me to a career in of anatomical photography. 

Ever since the accident, I started to prioritize my life by enrolling in the radiography program at Malcolm X College.  Today, as a full-time student in the radiography program, I quickly discovered I could not handle a heavy load of school work without any income.  This is an intense and rigorous program where my dedication is imperative to strive forward, but I worry about financial responsibilities like rent, bills and family expenses.  As an independent student that does not qualify for federal grants or financial aid, and falling deeply in debt, I was an inch away from dropping out of the program to find a job to ease the burden of financial stresses. 

 I confided in my professor, Dandcee Kittivanichkulkrai, about my need to drop out.  She encouraged me not to drop out and she said she would see what she could do to help me.  What Ms. Dandcee did next was one of the kindest gestures I have ever experienced.  She helped me find focus.  Ms. Dandcee helped me get scholarships and a grant to get through school, a night job at a hospital with tuition reimbursement, as well as tutoring sessions with her because of the time I spending away from school with my job.  It was one simple mention of dropping out that prompted her to find a way to help me succeed.  I remember asking her why she pushed so hard for me, and she simply stated, “I believe in you.”

 I have never experienced these altruistic, encouraging, and kind acts from another person as I have with Dandcee. I am grateful to Dandcee for her devotion in me, and all of her students.  Because she “believed in me,” I am now member of Phi Theta Kappa, on the Honor’s List at school, and will soon be a recipient of an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science, as well as a certified Radiologic Technologist.  I feel lucky to have a teacher like Ms. Dandcee whom is helping students like me achieve success.  We should all feel lucky.