Student Support Services and STEM Student Support Services recently sponsored "First to Finish," a yearly event that features a speaker, or a panel of speakers, who discuss being the first in their family to complete college.
Kristen Dougan, SSC sophomore and first-generation college student, addressed a group of fellow SSS students on Nov. 6. Her topic was "Never Give Up, No Matter What." Dougan was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy at the age of nine months and doctors did not expect her to live beyond the age of two years. Just recently, she celebrated her twenty-first birthday and is a thriving young lady.
During her presentation, Dougan encouraged and motivated her fellow classmates to press on in their education and in life, despite any barriers that arise. She spoke about a time when a care-giver told her she would never be able to attend college and succeed and how she quickly fired the care-giver. She shared the importance of students surrounding themselves with a strong support system while pursuing their dreams.
Dougan will graduate from SSC in December 2019 with a computer science degree and plans to continue her education at the University of Central Oklahoma in forensic science. Her career plans are to become a digital forensic scientist.
"Kristen is such an inspiration to our participants and to our staff. She is a rare gem. She is full of wisdom, life, love, and laughter. I did not want her to leave SSC without sharing her light to a group of our students. She has told us that she wants to speak to K-12 students about disability awareness. My hope was that this would be a great opportunity for her to begin to share her story. Kristen had never shared her story with a group before, but was so excited to do so. I know her talk was a huge blessing for us. There is no doubt that she will continue to be an inspiration and do great things," said Janna Wilson-Byrd, Director of SSS/STEM SSS.
SSS/STEM SSS is a federally funded program by the U.S. Department of Education in cooperation with Seminole State College. For more information about SSS/STEM SSS, please contact Wilson-Byrd at 405-382-9642 or visit www.sscok.edu/sss