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The Lighthouse News

Choosing Suffolk: Intensive English Language Program, Dietetic Technician, & Interior Design

Dr. Michael Greger and Tahani Elberjo

For more information about these programs, visit the SCCC College Catalog.

To Tahani, Registered Dietician to be, by Tahani Elberjo

As a student of the Dietetic Technician program here at Suffolk Community College Eastern Campus, I am enjoying every minute of it. It is an interesting, fun, and at times, challenging major to be in. But, the knowledge I am gaining and the experience I am getting from being here are things that I will be grateful for many years to come. I consider myself fortunate, and I give credit to my grandmother and the founder of, Dr. Michael Greger, for my choice to be here.

My grandmother lived with us and told great stories, some we had heard for years. One of those stories was about her aunt who was a successful healer. She was practicing in the 1920s, which was unusual for women at the time. She would tell us how people used to come to their house to see her aunt, and how she would listen to their problem, examine them, consult her “medicine book,” write them a little note with some natural ingredients, and send them to the local Attar—an Arabic word meaning apothecary, pharmacist, spice dealer, or perfumer.

When her aunt passed away, my grandmother kept the book for many years; it was one of her prized possessions. She herself couldn’t read, but she knew the value of it and wished to pass it on to someone in her family who would be able to utilize it. It was not to be! In the late sixties, her house was broken into and the book was among the things that got stolen; that broke her heart. She spoke about that book with sorrow every chance she got!

Fast forward thirty years and thousands of miles to 2020 in NYC, I came across a book and was intrigued by its quirky title How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease, by Michael Greger. It’s about using nutrition to prevent illness and heal your body. I bought the book and as I was reading, I realized the difference between this book and other similar ones is that every claim the author made was backed up with the strongest, most reliable scientific research to date. It dawned on me! It made me make a connection to my grandmother’s stories about her aunt. You CAN heal your body with nutrition and natural ingredients. I decided I wanted to be a healer like my great aunt. So, I set out to join the best program I could find to achieve this, and in 2022, I joined the program here at SCCC.

In conclusion to this little story, I am excited to say that I got to meet the person who inspired me to go on this path. In December 2023, Greger was speaking at SUNY Downstate Medical School promoting a sequel to his book. I am happy to report that I attended, met Dr. Greger, and told him about how I registered at SCCC to start a journey to be a dietitian. He was very supportive and encouraging! He signed my book “To Tahani, Registered Dietician to be soon!!”


Why I chose the Dietetic Technician Program, by Jessica Andrechuk

Did you know that the obesity prevalence is at an all-time high and has jumped in ten years from 30% to 42% of the population? Obesity has become a nationwide epidemic. It is one of the leading causes of death due to all its associated diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. It is not only affecting adults but is starting to affect 20% of adolescents. Unfortunately for many, this may become a lifelong issue.

I like many others struggled with weight gain after high school. COVID-19 jump started my weight loss journey. It forced me to change my lifestyle, a.k.a. bad habits. One look in the mirror began my passion for health and fitness. I realized that what you put into your body will determine your outcomes, which is so important for your longevity. By making simple changes such as snacking on fruits and vegetables instead of chips, swapping sodas out for water and aiming for 10,000 steps a day (which is the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control recommendation) not only was I able to lose 60 pounds, but I had a new energy and strove each day to make healthier choices.

I wanted an opportunity to inspire and encourage others who are also struggling, so I started my research on how I could make this possible. I wanted to find a program that would give me field experience and have the option to further my career if I wanted. That’s when I found the Eastern Campus of SCCC’s page for the Dietetic Technician program. This program is the only one on Long Island that is accredited by ACEND which is the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. It has 450 hours of field work and the eligibility to sit for the national registration exam. After completing this course there are also transfer opportunities available. I look forward to getting my certification and sharing what I have learned with my future patients.


Learning English, by Anastasiia Denysiuk

ESL class is a wonderful experience for me. I heard about this course from my sister. We are Ukrainian. She said, “I want to go to Suffolk College to study English.” I said that this is a great idea, and I am also passionate about this idea. So now we study together.

We really like to study English. We are taught by professional teachers. Learning is fun and interesting with them. I finally understand the grammar. It is easier than it seems. We always have some interactives, and they help us to understand English more quickly.

While we are studying on the course, we can enjoy the atmosphere of an American college. I believe that English can help me in my future life. I am happy to meet kind, open-minded classmates and teachers. I advise everyone who need to learn English to join the ESL course at Suffolk College. It will be the best way to learn English.

Клас ESL – це чудовий досвід для мене. Про цей курс я почула від своєї сестри. Вона сказала: «Я хочу піти в Саффолкський коледж, щоб вивчати англійську». Я сказала, що це чудова ідея, і я також захоплена цією ідеєю. Тож тепер ми вчимося разом. Нам дуже подобається вивчати англійську мову. Нас навчають професійні викладачі. З ними вчитися весело і цікаво. Нарешті я розумію граматику. Це простіше, ніж здається. У нас завжди є інтерактивні завдання. Вони допомагають нам швидше зрозуміти англійську. Під час навчання на курсах ми можемо насолодитися атмосферою американського коледжу. Я вірю що англійська може допомогти


The importance of learning English, by Ivanna Yakibchuk

Learning English is extremely important in today’s world! This language is an international language of communication that opens up new opportunities to communicate with people from different countries and cultures. I believe that coming to America, everyone should start by starting to learn English. Learning English will help expand opportunities to find better jobs in the future, as well as feel free in society and in public institutions. On the other hand, knowledge of English opens access to a variety of information from the world of science, culture and technology. Ultimately, learning English will help everyone develop their language skills and open up new horizons of knowledge. And finally, I want to say that learning English is an important and useful investment in education then the future and it will help to expand opportunities in many aspects of life! 


My journey to Interior Design, by Katherine Bran Guardado

As a person that has always been interested in art, I knew that there would be some way that I would be able to showcase my artist views and interest in methods other than painting, drawing, and sculpting.  Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy expressing my love for art in those ways and that won’t change. When I heard about interior design it piqued my interest, and the more I looked into what it was to be an interior designer, the more I wanted to learn about how I could be one.

In high school I had no clue what I wanted to be.  I kept seeing my peers being accepted into their dream college while I still struggled to make up my mind about what major to pick. As we were reaching the end of senior year, I decided to apply to SCCC. I knew that the first year of college tends to be the college placement classes or prerequisite classes, so I still had time to think about what it was I wanted to do in life.

As I was finalizing my first year of college, I struggled in figuring out what I should do. I decided to stop my education journey so I could work more and use that money for books and to pay off school. At this point, I have two jobs, and I work seven days a week.

At first it seemed great, better than going to school in my opinion. When they say money talks, I didn’t understand what that meant until I got to this point in my life. I was working harder and getting paid well for all my hard work. It seemed to be enough for what I needed.

As 2019 was coming to an end and my parents’ patience was wearing thin with my decision of taking a year off, it was time to start making the big decision to go back to school or continue working two jobs to pay my bills and expense. I went into the SCCC website and decided to browse the majors offered at this school. My eyes landed upon interior design, and it was something I heard of before many times but didn’t fully understand. I started to look up what it took to be an interior designer and what other opportunities branch off having a degree in such field. The more I saw videos and read up about interior design the more interesting it was seeming.

2020 was a year nobody was expecting, and it made me rethink going to school. Everything was going remote; the world was locking up and getting stuck at home. As some took this global pandemic as a time to work on self-development, it became another reason to add to my list of why I shouldn’t go back to school. It was a scary time for the world, and it drove me into a mental spiral. I was still working a lot but only at one job at this point. The spark that lit up my views on my future and school slowly felt like it was getting dimmer.

As things started to cool down with the global pandemic, my parents started to ask me my thoughts on when I was deciding to go back to school, relighting that dimming light. Although a little reluctant, I told them that I would be returning in the Fall 2021 as a part time student. At first, they fought me on it. They wanted me to go full time, and looking back at it, I think I should have listened to them. I wanted to do things my way though. My current job offered me a full-time position, and they had a program to become licensed in the field. I thought I could juggle doing this program, while going to SCCC part time, and still working full time. I was ultimately incorrect about what I could handle.

From the first class. Interior Design 101, I knew this was the program for me. I didn’t want to stop learning; it was the first time in a long time where I started to get excited to learn. I started to love what I was learning. The professors in this program are like no other educators I had in the past. They were individuals that were thrilled to teach their craft, and excited to see how we, the students, would grow into designers. They were always open to answering any questions thrown their way and if they didn’t have an answer right away, they would get back to you with it as soon as possible.

Even though school can be stressful, anxiety inducing, and tiring, my love for design grew, and it overpowered the negativity that would try to creep in. The more I learned about floor plans and textiles, the more I felt like interior design was the right choice for me. It allowed me to connect to the artist in me that I couldn’t connect to since high school. I learned more about the color wheel in ways that I didn’t even think of. The further I got into the program the more I felt like I was becoming a designer. Seeing the amazing projects that my peers put out the more it encouraged me to do my best in every project, and every assignment that was thrown my way.

As awesome as it is learning about this amazing field, it is also a competitive field. That may be a bit discouraging to some, but it became a motivator for me. I wanted to be as driven and determined as I saw those efforts in my classmates. I wanted to be the one that made someone be in awe with my design choices. I want to hear the criticism, I want the notes, and I want to be the best. This program pushed me to be someone I never thought I could be. I’ve never worked so hard for something in my life. I wanted to be the one to impress since I was getting impressed. I wanted to hear that “woah” or “that’s so cool” because I was able to design a space that made someone feel something.

My job isn’t done yet, and this is only the beginning. This is the start of something great, and I can feel it. I didn’t think school was for me, and I didn’t think I would ever find something that would push me to my limits and still make me want to push further. This program did that and more. I’ve met some great people and seeing their wonderful projects and efforts made me want to give my all for something so incredible. I can’t wait to apply the lessons and teachings I got through this program and use these tools to go to new places that were once untenable dreams.

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