I enjoy being an active student. I am trying to be a good example for my peers. It’s exciting when you see your organization’s activities and getting more students involved.
Thomas Nelson Community College business major Maria Meraluna Carlson is fueled by the desire to set a good example for her primary school-aged son. "He helps me stay focused on my future and inspires me to push through any challenges," she said. Carlson's connection with the College began in 2011 when she was hired part-time as a cashier in the Business and Student Accounting Office. She became a full-time customer service representative in 2014.
The work experience piqued Carlson's interest in accounting and motivated her to enroll in classes. She plans to pursue a bachelor's degree in accounting after graduation and ultimately become a certified public accountant. Although this isn't Carlson's first encounter with higher education in the United States, she deems it her best. She came to the United States from the Philippines in 1999 and lived in Waterford, Mich. for a year before moving to Richmond, Va., where she managed a family-owned restaurant for seven years. While managing the restaurant, she began working part-time as an administrative assistant at J. Sargent Reynolds Community College in 2004 and took English as a Second Language classes before moving to Newport News. "[Thomas Nelson] has helped me a lot … especially working here. It balances me in getting the experience and knowledge I need to accomplish my goals."
In her spare time, Carlson volunteers with the Philippine-American Association of Central Virginia and the Visayan-American Association of Central Virginia. She engages in campus life through membership in the International Club and the Student Government Association. She is also a member at the National Society of Leadership and Success. "I enjoy being an active student. I am trying to be a good example for my peers. It's exciting when you see your organization's activities and getting more students involved," she said. "I also enjoy working in study groups because it's great the way we work together to help each other."
She expects to complete her studies at Thomas Nelson in 2017.