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Early in life, Harford Community College student Hannah Farmer learned how rewarding it was to give back. She spends much of her time both on campus and in her community helping others.
Last summer, Hannah served as an orientation leader and shared her knowledge of the College with students just starting out. Even though she was in a walking boot due to surgery, she was energetic and engaging while leading fast-paced tours around campus. She also presented a PowerPoint presentation on information that would help new students to feel confident at HCC and get them off to a good start.
Hannah currently works as a learning assistant at the College's Learning Center. "It allows me to still help other students, much like being an orientation leader did. The only difference is I'm helping students get further rather than just getting started."
She also serves as a student leader for the College's Alternative Break Program. HCC's 2019 Alternative Spring Break trip was to New Orleans, and Hannah was there to help. Students worked on three projects in partnership with HandsOn: New Orleans: designing a pocket park for the Treme community; creating a fun atmosphere for a playground at an elementary school; and due to safety concerns, updating a playground for a preschool. "I learned to be more confident in my abilities and in myself. Every member of the team brought a different quality or skill set to the team, and I learned that I, too, had skills to bring. I also learned a lot about putting myself out there. We had a group of 13 people, with only a few who knew each other previously. We then spent a week sleeping in the same house, sharing meals, playing games, and working side-by-side. This type of environment brings everyone closer and forces you out of your comfort zone." Hannah also went on the 2020 Alternative Winter Break trip to Key West, Florida, where students worked in partnership with the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary on marine debris removal.
Hannah has always been an active member of her community. As a Daisy in the Girl Scouts, she earned both the bronze and silver awards earned by a member who makes a difference in her community and the greater world. Her volunteer work included helping in soup kitchens, running clothing and food drives, and cleaning up parks. While in high school, she joined a nonprofit genealogical organization that chooses a new service project each year. "As a part of this organization, we gifted 548 kids who were displaced from their homes with a backpack filled with body care items, clothing, school supplies and toys; donated $9,786 to Hero Dogs, an organization that supplies veterans with service dogs; donated $5,678 to the Rising Sun Inn and spent a few days helping to restore the property to its previous historic splendor. This year's project is to help fund new paved trails and chicken coops for the Benjamin Banneker Museum. Nationally, we've raised money for mountain schools, reservation schools, maintenance on Revolution-era cannons for museums, and this year we're raising money for the restoration of George Washington's desk at his cherry farm." Through the organization, she continues to volunteer at Perry Point VA Hospital and other sites in Maryland and donates money to various worthy causes. Each year, Hannah also volunteers for a summer program designed to inspire young girls and at a summer camp that promotes the STEM field to elementary students. She received the Good Citizenship Award from Governor William Paca National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution for her volunteer work and lifelong commitment to service.
In addition to participating in so many rewarding activities, she enjoys being a student at HCC. "I love attending Harford. It's a wonderful place for you to get introduced to college and knock out general studies. It's also ideal for students who may not know if college is for them. They can try it out." She was surprised by the number of opportunities available to HCC students. "I was expecting to have to go to a university to experience college. Harford changed that. The amount of school pride from the students and faculty, the eagerness of the faculty to not only teach us but get to know us, the workshops and seminars that are free to attend, and the opportunities to travel while also giving back make Harford the place to be."
She is impressed with the enthusiasm and commitment of faculty and staff. Assistant Professor Anne Shugars, who had been in a similar field to the one Hannah is entering, serves as an inspiration to her: "She not only showed up, but she excelled." She also appreciates the dedication of Student Leadership and Orientation Specialist Caitlin White, who leads the Alternative Break and Orientation programs. "Caitlin has been a massive help along the way as well. A lot of the opportunities and experiences I've been fortunate to have at HCC have been because of her. Plus, she's also there if I need to talk, which gives me a sense of support."
And, as if she's not already doing enough, Hannah is completing the requirements for Emerging Leaders, a program designed to build and enhance the leadership skills of Harford Community College students.
Hannah is pursuing an AAS degree in Accounting and will receive an Accounting-Bookkeeping certificate by May 2020. After she graduates from Harford, she plans to transfer to Salisbury University to pursue a dual major in Accounting and Finance, with a minor in Economics. Further along in her studies, she plans to take the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) examination in Maryland and then focus on a career in auditing.
Hannah's advice to other students: "Take advantage of what Harford offers. This could be a place that you must show up to move on to the next university or job, or it could be the place to make memories. It could be where you meet your new best friend or your mentor. It could be the place where you finally realize what you want in life and how to get it. Instead of just being a steppingstone, let Harford be an experience."
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