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Persevering Through Obstacles, Inspiring Graduates

Samantha Lofgren, 2013 MCTC commencement speakerOn paper and in person, Samantha M. Lofgren is a model student and citizen. A Criminal Justice graduate of MCTC and a Diversity Psychology major at Metropolitan State University with a 4.0 GPA, Samantha has always found time to serve her college and her community.

When she attended MCTC, Samantha served as vice president of Phi Theta Kappa, assisted in the founding of the MCTC Sociology Club, tutored English in the Learning Center and acted as both a peer mentor and student in the TRIO Disability Student Services and Starting Point programs. In her community, Samantha volunteers as a personal care assistant and is a member of the Minneapolis Shambhala Center, where she has served as ambassador for “Basic Goodness Day” and is coordinated a related six-week pilot program. (Photo credit: Dread Naught Photography.)

To top off her experience at MCTC, Samantha delivered the 2013 student commencement speech. During her speech, she shared highlights from her journey and paid tribute to her classmates, acknowledging the challenges they may have experienced in their educational journey and how overcoming those challenges brings about great strength.

“In the event anything went sideways at MCTC, I was always encouraged to be myself, to never give up and to learn how to be successful as I managed being brilliant despite sometimes feeling broken,” said Samantha, who has been disabled since 2001.  

Samantha Lofgren, 2013 MCTC commencement speakerAt one point in her academic career, Samantha was poised to drop her Creative Nonfiction writing course—for the second time. Upon learning of her struggle to succeed in the class, her instructor asked what could be done to help. Encouraged by the genuine support she received, Samantha stayed in the class and subsequently won several awards for one of the pieces she wrote.

“As I navigated my six-year path at MCTC, I became aware of brief moments of encouragement and enlightenment that happened all over the place,” said Samantha. “These moments helped me to be a stronger person and to be successful.” The “moments” took many forms, and included MCTC’s alternative learning formats, accommodations for her disability, real-world connections between theory and everyday life, being challenged to hold herself to higher standards and support and encouragement from faculty, staff, students and administration. “MCTC is the perfect place for a nontraditional student to thrive,” said Samantha.

“At the end of the day, it is perseverance and support that got me where I am today. I worked hard for this, but I recognize no one does it alone,” said Samantha. “The primary reason I am where I am today is because of all of the support I received from people at all levels at MCTC. I hope to bring this type of support and humanity back to business and out into greater society.”  

Published May 2013


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