Tamara is a former Paradise Valley Community College student who earned her degree in Business Administration in December 2020, and is continuing her studies at Arizona State University. From an early age, Tamara’s academic journey has been paved with language-barrier obstacles, but she continues to forge ahead, challenging herself on her path to success.
As one of PVCC’s Peer Leaders, she leads by example with her positive attitude and motivating spirit. She enjoys sharing her own story with others in an effort to encourage them to power through their frustrations and challenges, always ask for help and try new things no matter what.
Tamara’s parents came to the States from Serbia with her brother in 2000. She was born not long after. Growing up, her parents did not speak English, she spoke Serbian in the home and really struggled to learn English both in school and in social settings. School was hard for her, often leaving her feeling like she was barely ‘surviving.’
“I felt like I was a step behind everyone in school, having to learn the language mainly on my own,” Tamara explained. “That never stopped me from participating in everything I could though - sports, clubs. I never let that get me down. I always made an effort.”
Tamara began at PVCC while still in high school in the Early College Program and loved the community atmosphere PVCC created. She was involved in Varsity sports, including basketball and track and field, Dance Ensemble, and National Honors Society. While completing her degree last Fall, Tamara’s marketing professor nominated her for becoming a peer leader. Tamara jumped at the opportunity, saying “I know this is something that definitely would have benefitted me during my time at PVCC.”
The Peer Leader Program is a new concept aimed at supporting students in their specific Field of Interest (FOI). The goal is to create a buddy system where peer leaders help new students navigate within their chosen FOI and build a community within their major. They are either graduates of PVCC or further along in their studies, so they can be a great resource to students less familiar with how things work at PVCC. Available via phone or video chat, peer leaders can answer questions and simply be a resource for students as they walk through the early stages of college life.