From community college to Georgetown, to a White House summit (via Georgetown):
When Mark Svensson (C’12) received his invitation to the first-ever White House Summit on Community Colleges, he already knew that investing in education could pay off.
The summit organizers had a special reason to invite Svensson, whose academic and co-curricular success at SUNY-Rocklands allowed him to transfer into Georgetown University this fall. Svensson explained, “I learned that I was nominated by the head of Phi Theta Kappa, which is the largest international honor society, and deals specifically with two-year colleges. The executive director, Ron Risley, nominated me to the White House along with a few other students, and I was one of the few selected.” Chaired by Dr. Jill Biden, the event on October 5 highlighted the social value and continued challenges of community colleges in bolstering national education goals.
Svensson’s perspective on the state of the nation’s community colleges owes a great deal to his success during his tenure there. Although he admits he rarely spent time on academics in high school, at SUNY-Rocklands Svensson became a star student. For his academic drive, he was chosen out of 1,500 nominees to be one of 20 students featured in USA Today as part of the All-USA Community College Academic Team. Svensson explained of his efforts, “I really worked hard to get my grades up and get a direction out of what I wanted to do as far as major, so I could transfer to somewhere like Georgetown.” Although he found it an honor to be invited to the summit, he hoped his experience would highlight how greater encouragement from administrators and educators might inspire more community college students to succeed as he has.