The community college. That’s where it started for Barbara Giffin, and that’s where she has dedicated her career now, traveling full circle. Barbara spent her first semester at Manchester Community College, which at the time comprised of portable classrooms in trailers. She dreamed of transferring to a four-year college and becoming a teacher, but she had to work full-time while taking four classes in order to save the money.
One morning when she was waiting tables, one person, an angel she remembers, encouraged her to seek out her dream right then and gave her the $10.00 she needed to apply to UConn. She applied for financial aid and got a full scholarship, turned in her apron, and earned her B. A. degree in Secondary Education, spending one summer in Valencia, Spain studying Literature and Composition. She taught Spanish in middle and high schools, got married and had children, and when they went to bed, she got out her books and studied for her Master’s degree in Higher Education Administration. She worked with high school drop outs in Hartford to prepare them for their GED’s in Hartford, then taught English as a Second Language to refugees for CREC, also in Hartford. She later worked at Capital, Tunxis, Manchester, and Middlesex Community College teaching ESL, Spanish, and English both in the classroom and as part of Business and Industry Services in the workplace. She became a full- time professor of English in 2010 and in 2012 took on a new role as Coordinator of the new Learning Lab, which provides tutoring and library services in Meriden. In 2015, she became the coordinator of the Academic Success Centers in Middletown and Meriden.
Barbara wants to be the one person who makes a difference as one person did in her own life. Believe in the fairy tale. Cinderellas can break free and pursue their dreams.
“Often, it’s not about becoming a new person, but becoming the person you were meant to be, and already are, but don’t know how to be.” ― Heath L. Buckmaster