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stories @ TCC


From Italy to TCC to NASA Internship

Maria Suba never thought she’d be living in America. The native of Italy met her Navy husband and moved to the United States in 2001. “I love to be here; it’s very different,” Suba says. “I had a feeling that I could change my life, and now I know this is true.”

Suba left Italy and a secretarial job, after studying for a career as a surveyor during her high school years. “It’s like my life started when I came here. In Italy you have no chance to be noticed, there’s so much competition and not many jobs,” she explains. “And you have to have on-the-job training in your profession for two years, without pay.”

When she first arrived, Suba worked as a telephone operator for MCI. The company downsized, leaving her without a job. “I needed to get back on my feet, and the Navy’s NextStep program recommended TCC. I started taking civil engineering classes and, three years later, I have my associate degree,” Suba says, adding “I enjoyed my time at TCC and the professionalism of the teachers. I learned so much and even worked as a lab assistant for the department.”

Just before graduation, instructor George McLeod helped Suba land a paid internship with NASA Langley Research Center. “While I’m here, I’m working with my mentor Mary Gainer and many surveyors and GIS technicians,” she notes.