MOBILE, Ala., Aug. 13, 2021 – For some, a perceived setback can negatively impact their success. For others, like Bishop State Alum Trixia Joyce Colubio, it is merely a new stepping stone heading in a different direction. As an immigrant from the Philippines, Colubio decided to take advantage of the affordability, diversity, and quality education offered at Bishop State Community College. Her efforts allowed her to graduate Summa Cum Laude and opened doors for her at a four-year institution. Recently, Colubio landed an internship with Adobe.

Although progress has been made from previous generations, men still dominate the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce. For example, men made up 52 percent of all United States workers in 2019, yet they represented nearly 75 percent of all STEM workers. The gross under-representation of women in the STEM sector is, in part, what makes Trixia Joyce Colubio’s matriculation in Bishop State’s Computer Information Systems program so unique.

Six years ago Colubio had successfully earned her Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology and was living and working in the Philippines. However, things drastically changed when she was informed that her immediate family would be permanently relocating to the United States following what was intended to be a two month vacation. Although Colubio’s father was already working in the US, the impact of the news did not soften the bout of sadness that followed as she swiftly packed her belongings––not having time to say her proper goodbyes to other family and childhood friends––and started a new way of life in a new country.

In addition to leaving behind the comfort of her native land, Colubio quickly discovered that her college degree and other qualifications were not accepted in the US, so she would have to obtain a college degree in the US in order to have a career in STEM. During her initial research of universities in the US, she quickly discovered that the cost of obtaining a Bachelor’s degree was not within budget, so she consulted with friends from the Philippines who’d obtained an education in the US, and they highly recommended Bishop State Community College.

Although she successfully enrolled in college, she was faced with another challenge: Transportation. “We just had one car, and that was really hard,” she explained. Despite this, she remained focused and grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow. In her words, the challenges she faced merely provided “more opportunity, not more adversity.” For her, this was a second chance to make the most of her academic journey, and she intended to give it her all.

While attending Bishop State, Colubio wanted to make more connections, become more involved, and gain more exposure. “I also wanted to be an instrument for other people to see how nice the school is,” she said. “...Me being proactive is something that would help me to empower other students in the school as well,” she continued.

Colubio remained committed to her goal and left her mark on Bishop State during her matriculation. While working as a Peer Educator at Bishop State’s Learning Assistance Center, Colubio was able to fix system inefficiencies with a mobile app she created as a result of enrolling in the Apple Swift Coding program which teaches students how to code and design fully functional apps for Apple operating systems. Bishop State is one of the first community colleges across the nation chosen to offer this program. With Colubio’s mobile app, students and peer tutors could register and find scheduling for tutoring with ease.

Colubio graduated with a 4.0 GPA and obtained her Associates degree in Computer Information Systems. To her surprise, extended family members traveled all the way from the Philippines to see her graduate. Currently, Colubio is an intern at Adobe, and she feels like she is living her dream. “It’s awesome,” she said of the internship. “I couldn’t express how grateful I am to be here.” Colubio is a full time student at Alabama State University and was accepted into a national exchange student program that will send her to Texas A&M University in Fall 2021––where she’ll once again be introduced to a new environment and culture.

Above all, Colubio reminds us to not let our fears hinder us. “It’s not about skills only, it’s about how you pursue your goals and how hungry you are to be where you want to be,” she said. “Don’t let your self-doubt stop you.

Click here to learn more about the Computer Information System Program at Bishop State Community College.

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