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Communication Grad Student Takes Unexpected Turns in Stride

Collin Noronha came to Cincinnati from India, and pursued his degree despite unexpected setbacks.

Date: 10/28/2008
By: Matt Cunningham
Phone: (513) 556-4190
Photos By: Matt Cunningham
Students from all over the globe pursue degrees at McMicken College of Arts & Sciences.

First-year communication graduate student Collin Noronha is one of them, and while his journey to Cincinnati from India may not be unique in the school, the story behind that journey truly stands out.

Noronha said the idea of studying in the United States began after he co-organized an intercollegiate science event while he was completing his undergraduate degree in India.

Collin Noronha.
Communication grad student Collin Noronha is pursuing his degree after his journey from India took an unexpected turn.

"One of the professors said we had this alum in town, and it would be very nice for me to welcome him," he said. The alum, a Cincinnati-area businessman, observed Noronha and his colleagues, then returned the next day and presented an offer: If Noronha could raise a portion of the travel funds to move to the U.S., the benefactor would cover the cost of his graduate education.

"In the beginning, I said 'No way.' I couldn't afford it," said Noronha, who at the time was considering a job offer with an Indian tech firm.

"I talked to my parents [we decided] if I could get a visa, we'd talk about it."

Noronha obtained a visa on his second try and moved to Cincinnati, where he completed some elective courses at Thomas More College while looking at graduate programs.

Then the graduate's plans took an unexpected turn.

Noronha's benefactor became involved in a lawsuit and announced that he couldn't provide the funding he had promised. That left the student essentially stranded, thousands of miles away from family in Oman, Jordan, and with uncertain funds.

But instead of dwelling on the setback and going home, Noronha decided to follow through with his plans for graduate school in the United States.

"If you have an opportunity, you just have to grab it," he said.

Noronha was accepted into McMicken's communication program. He found a job with the college as well; he works in the Center for Exploratory Studies, where associate director Carol Tonge Mack said he began making an impression before he was even hired.

"[Communication faculty] knew he was coming by for an interview, and they came by to say how great he was," she said.

As Tonge Mack learned more about Noronha's journey, she said, she became more and more impressed.

"I can't imagine being here just here by yourself," she said. "I think if I was in his situation, I would probably say, 'I'm going home.'"

Noronha said he is searching for scholarships to help him complete his course of study, but that other than that, his plans for the future are the same as they were before his journey took its unexpected turn.

"Right now, my plan is to finish my degree, get one or two years of experience and go home and work," he said.

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