Samantha Jo Christopher
I began my collegiate journey at Gaston College in the fall of 2014. The year prior, I was deployed overseas on my second combat tour when a 200-pound Improvised Explosive Devise struck my vehicle. I suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury that left me with numerous injuries and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
At age 25, I had not set foot inside a formal learning institution for several years. I gave birth to my son three weeks before school started and was unsure of my abilities to simultaneously be a wife, mother, and full-time student with many obstacles to overcome.
With the help of Veteran’s Affairs Coordinator Darren Stewart and Disability Support Services, my transition back to school went smoothly. The injuries I faced on the battlefield continued to create roadblocks for me while attending school. It was a great sense of comfort for me to know that I had the full support of staff and faculty members throughout the campus because they are invested whole-heartedly into the success of their students.
I accessed a network of more supporters when I joined TRiO and the Gamma Beta Phi National Honor Society. I utilized the Writing Center and spent countless hours with writing coach Allyson Heafner to improve my coursework.
My mentors, Hisayo Tokura-Gallo and Stephanie Hyman, have been the most impactful on my success and my inspiration for pursuing a career in the field of Psychology. They have guided me through hardships and shared in my triumphs. The support I have received from Gaston College has shaped me into a confident student who is prepared to transfer to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, continue my education in Clinical Neuropsychology, and give back to the community by helping Veteran’s.