Students' Spotlight - Southwestern Illinois College

Dorian W.


Dorian W., a current SWIC student, is seeking a degree in Special Education, specializing in working with deaf/hard of hearing students. 

Being deaf himself, Dorian relates well to the deaf culture and recently started a non-profit organization called, Kick at the Lou, that promotes awareness of the deaf culture. 

In the future, he would like to expand the organization by providing resources to the deaf community, such as job leads and skills training. 

As a full-time employee and college student, he stays very busy, yet always tries to include some relaxation and fun through music, reading, and enjoying outdoor activities. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has created challenges for many. For Dorian, one of his hardest challenges being a college student during COVID-19 was having science classes online. 

However, between the instructors and sign language interpreters provided through the Disability & Access Center, Dorian has continued to be successful at SWIC. 

Dorian sums it up best by saying, “My advice to college students during the COVID-19 pandemic is to keep fighting until the very end. 

If you struggle with classes, it is always good to seek out help.” 

Corey H.

C Happ

Corey H., a current SWIC student, is seeking a degree in Aviation Management. 

After having a stroke four years ago, going through multiple surgeries and therapy, Corey continues to learn how to adapt and do things differently in order to be successful. 

COVID-19 has challenged him to adapt even more as a student.  He uses many strategies for success such as quietly reading with different types of music.

When studying, he slowly reads to himself and visualizes what he is reading to increase comprehension. 

He then takes a 20 to 30-minute break to avoid overwhelming his brain with too much information at once. 

Enjoying the outdoors, feeding the birds, watching movies, and reading books are among some of the strategies Corey uses to relax. 

Coping with COVID-19 challenged Corey to practice staying healthy by watching his diet, stretching, meditating, and exercising daily. 

His philosophy on being successful during COVID-19 is, “As long as SWIC is open, I am open!  Keep your distance, wear your mask, stay healthy, and stay safe.  Don’t give up out of fear or self-doubt.  All of SWIC is in place, from Microsoft Teams to smaller class size; all you have to do is apply yourself.”

Faith H.

Student in testing center

Faith H. stays very busy with being a full-time student at SWIC and working two part-time jobs.

She has learned to balance her time, stay organized, and use time between classes to study as much as possible. 

She states, “Having a disability has not stopped me from doing things that I want to do; I just have to prioritize between college, work, and my social life.”

Faith has been on the honor roll and has received several customer service awards. 

Even though she likes to shop, as well as get her nails and hair done, in her spare time, she is able to be successful by using some of the following strategies to avoid feeling overwhelmed and stressed:  Trying not to procrastinate, asking for help, using an agenda or calendar, and using accommodations. 

She said, “The Disability & Access Center has helped me a lot with my accommodations. It is a comfortable and positive environment that is very welcoming and friendly.”

Faith never stops setting goals for herself.  Once she graduates from SWIC with an Associate of Arts degree, she plans to transfer to Harris Stowe State University or Lindenwood University to major in social work and art therapy. 

Ben C.

DAC testing smiling

Ben C. is a student at SWIC seeking an Associate of Arts degree with plans to transfer to another college/university to receive a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology or Social Work. 

“It’s important to me to give back to others,” he states as he talks about his future educational plans. 

As a student with a disability that affects his walking, processing, and balance, Ben advises students, “Just because you have a disability doesn’t mean you’re not going to be successful. You may just have to work a little harder.”

Having a disability has not prevented Ben from being successful. 

Throughout his education, he has won several awards honoring his character and positive attitude. 

His positive thinking has even led him to some exciting adventures as he has traveled to many places around the world. 

Doing homework, studying hard, managing time wisely, using the Disability & Access Center, Success Center, and always advocating for yourself are some of Ben’s strategies for being successful at SWIC. 

Ben sums it up best with his final advice, “Always put yourself in other people’s shoes, be friendly, and always say hello.”