Voices of Diversity

Bridging social understanding, cultural awareness and inclusivity

With a geographic area reaching more than 120 miles from north to south and multiple learning sites, Eastern Iowa Community Colleges features a vibrant combination of urban and rural landscapes.

This creates an incredible diversity of ages, ethnic backgrounds, experiences and cultures among our students and the communities we serve—enriching our learning environments and the opportunities we can offer our students.

To celebrate this diversity, Eastern Iowa Community Colleges’ (EICC) Diversity Council created an installment named Voices of Diversity.

Its purpose: “To provide a method where expressions of the heart, mind and soul can be channeled, free of judgement, to promote inclusivity in understanding cultures throughout the college community and to foster meaningful connections.

As a permanent fixture at each of our campuses, students, faculty, staff and alumni stories will be featured in the hallways most frequented. Passersby can learn more about each participant’s story by scanning a QR code and reading on. Each story brings to light what makes our campus community unique, with subjects ranging in age, ethnicity, socio-economic class, race, gender, sexual orientation, disabilities, education and culture.

The Council hopes that “Voices of Diversity” will provide a venue for our campus community to feel supported, accepted and heard.

Over the next several issues of THE Community’s College Magazine, you will hear from participants in their own words, beginning with students from Muscatine Community College.

These are their stories.


MCC Student, Nursing Program

Please list all the ways in which you identify.

“My first nationality is Cameroon, which is situated in the West-Central part of Africa. Cameroon is a bilingual country, as we do speak both English and French. I speak four languages; my dialect (commonly known as Mother’s Tongue), Pidgin English, French and English. I’m a Christian in the Presbyterian Church. I did all my schooling up to high school in Cameroon. I moved to the United States in December 2017.”

Briefly describe a barrier you overcame or lesson you learned as it relates to one or more aspects of your identity.

“Everything here is different from where I came from—the lifestyle, the food, etc. When I first moved here, more than three years ago, I found it so difficult to eat a lot of meals. This was because I was unfamiliar with almost everything. Most grocery stores in Africa were not close by. As time passed, I started eating some of the food. I can now say I eat nearly everything. Secondly, as I was preparing for college, I had to learn how to type. Here was totally different, because everything is computer-based. This became my greatest worry as I was about to begin my first year of college. I decided to practice typing every day. In the span of three months, I was seeing progress. I’m so happy now that I can do both—note taking and typing—well.”

Tell us more about how your multiple identities have impacted your life.

“Having multiple identities has impacted my life greatly. I’m able to blend my culture with the Western culture and interact with different people. I’m also learning a lot of new things every day. There are a lot of opportunities here in comparison to my country of origin.”

What do you hope others will gain from reading your story?

“Life is all about struggles and never let your weaknesses define who you are. Learn to be patient and connect with others. Be open-minded, ask questions and never give up—no matter who you are or where you are coming from. Together we will build a better future.”


MCC Alumnus

Please list all the ways in which you identify.

“Mexican-American, Latino, Iowan, Texano, American, Catholic, middle-class, third-generation, he, him, his, Latino-American, young, leader.”

Briefly describe a barrier you overcame or lesson you learned as it relates to one or more aspects of your identity.

“I have learned that I am a Latino in America. Growing up in the Midwest, that was not something I really thought about. As I became more mature and had a better understanding for the world around me, I became more aware of what I looked like—the involuntary code switching that I had done for most of my life. I came to realize that I was a person of color and needed to explore and learn more about my own culture, as well as others. I often think about my grandparents and how they made their journey to America, leaving everything they knew behind and working hard to get here. They wanted to come to America to live a better life and pursue the American dream. I feel as though I have a responsibility to build on the life that was provided for me. By educating myself and chasing my goals, I try to embody the American dream that my grandparents had by making it an American reality.”

Tell us more about how your multiple identities have impacted your life.

“It’s been a fight and a learning experience to find what identity is dominant. How to balance them out and respect each one as a piece of the puzzle that is me. As an American, I find it an honor to be part of an idea so great, yet a responsibility to help form a more perfect union. As a Latino-American, I recognize the unique position that I am in and how much my Latino upbringings are a part of me. I fight myself to not suppress who I am or my family. It is for this reason that I find it so important to wear my cowboy boots and hat proudly, because it is a part of my heritage and culture.”

What do you hope others will gain from reading your story?

“I hope people can understand that anyone with the willingness to work hard and ask for help when needed can accomplish a lot. Anyone can make a change in the world, in their communities, if they just try to. Understand that it is ordinary people who can do extraordinary things. In this race of life, it is true that others might have an advantage or two over you, but you have the advantage of being you. Make a life that you’re proud of.”

Learn more about Voices of Diversity at eicc.edu/voices

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