Upon finishing high school in Nigeria, Gozie Ibeji and his family moved to Phoenix, Arizona. The PVCC campus looked welcoming, and it quickly became the perfect next step on his educational journey. Gozie reflected, “PVCC was a big part of my life and laid the foundation for my future.”
During his PVCC journey Gozie encountered “a lot of great people,” including Professor Fred Wieck who taught AAA 100. “[Professor Wieck] strived to create a welcoming atmosphere and was very inclusive and always available to listen,” Gozie said. “He made you feel comfortable offering opportunities and avenues to write about your journey.” Gozie developed a counseling relationship with Marianne Roccaforte-Gardner, and she helped him identify his goals and project them into reality. She also helped him find innovative ways to think critically. Ryan Martin in Student Life introduced him to new activities and helped him to be mindful of not getting too deeply committed.
Gozie enjoyed participating in extra-curricular student experiences. He was very involved in Emerging Leaders (EL). During an EL retreat, Gozie was exposed to “Hunger Night,” which allowed the participants to have frank discussions about homelessness and poverty. This experience helped Gozie to realize that you don’t have to go far to make a change. The impact was remarkable. In Nigeria, Gozie’s mother was a nurse and he has “good childhood memories of going to the clinic where she worked and joining her as she made her rounds. This experience drew me into the medical field – I wanted to be of assistance to others.”
Gozie’s experiences through EL helped mold a part of him that had begun in childhood, and PVCC gave him the path. Gozie went on to complete a major in Global Health and a minor in Biological Sciences at ASU. He completed a Master of Public Health degree at University of Texas Health Science Center with a focus on epidemiology. Currently, Gozie is a Data Analyst at Texas Health and Human Services.
Emerging Leaders (EL) was very beneficial for building a network and providing exposure to leadership concepts and opportunities. Participation in EL helped Gozie determine what type of leader he could be and an awareness that you can also lead from the back as an influencer. EL also led him to Phi Theta Kappa, which brought the opportunity to connect with other community colleges, and SLICE (Serve, Learn, Inspire, Change, and Educate). These leadership experiences facilitated his development as an individual to connect and effect change as well as learn the tenets of service and the value of citizenship. He said, “It is amazing how the slightest interactions can have a cascading effect. The principles I learned during my PVCC experience have guided my work to this day. I learned how to be a part of a team.”