The best choice for Nia McMillon to start her educational journey “without breaking the bank” was to attend a community college before transferring to a university. Upon visiting the campus, Nia fell in love with the college and the atmosphere and signed up for her first classes the summer following high school graduation.
The representation of many cultures at PVCC helped Nia to feel at ease about herself and who she represented. Being a woman of color, Nia found the Women Rising and the Male Empowerment Network were two of the most powerful clubs on campus that gave representation to the People of Color (POC) community. Each offered leadership opportunities coupled “with a vast community behind us each step of the way.” Nia said, “I grew the courage to make my voice heard and to help others in similar places feel empowered to speak their mind and strive for inclusion on their campuses.” She traveled to Washington, DC through Women Rising, and she also represented PVCC at other leadership conferences.
Nia’s roles as Vice President of Student Government and President of Women Rising enabled her to experience the importance of leadership and planning towards creating a memorable community foundation for those thereafter. She said, “I loved the rush of having a precise schedule as it kept me busy and involved across the campus.” These experiences laid the foundation on which she has built moving forward.
Nia is deeply appreciative of Cranston Forte, one of the many amazing staff and instructors she connected with, and his encouragement and dedication, that made her feel like she had a community backing her every step of her journey.
PVCC offered Nia an environment that supported her career exploration. She changed her career focus from Fashion Journalism to Child Psychology. Nia said, “Since I had the freedom to explore without judgement, I am now part of a field that gives me satisfaction in a whole new light.”
During her sophomore year, Nia focused on graduating with honors, engaging in extracurricular opportunities and developing relationships with her peers. Nia was awarded the coveted Golden Puma award as recognition for her community and club engagement. Nia shared that she will never forget the honor of being able to speak to her graduating class. “It still brings tears of joy to my eyes; something I will never forget or take for granted.”
For Nia, PVCC will always feel like home. “PVCC may seem like a small, creative community, but this place lays such a huge foundation for any career opportunity you are striving for,” she said. “You have to be open to all they offer and remember nothing is off limits if you really push for it!” She encourages students to “Step out of your comfort zone. PVCC is the type of community where you can have great experiences and put yourself out there without the fear of falling. Connect with as many staff and faculty as possible and you will be surprised how far you will go!”