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Touria Benotmane

 Touria Benotmane

“I'd love to teach, and help people to navigate the laws and services parents of children with special needs are entitled to.“

Class of 2012

Hometown: Morocco
Major: Paralegal Studies and Psychology

When Touria Benotmane immigrated to America from her native Morocco in 2003, she knew no one and spoke no English. It was challenging, but when her son Amine was born a year later, her challenges were magnified. He was born deaf.

In addition to learning English and adjusting to American culture, Touria now had to learn American sign language and navigate the regulations and services related to deaf children.

"It was an overwhelming time in my life," says Tauria, 31. "I felt lost. A lot of people I knew who were in similar situations, immigrants with special needs children, went back home. But I knew I wanted to stay and fight for my son's rights."

Because of her experience, Touria has dedicated her academic career to psychology and legal studies. She is currently pursuing associate degrees in Paralegal Studies and Psychology at MassBay.

"I hope to obtain a Ph.D. in Psychology and a J.D." she says. "I'd love to teach, and help people to navigate the laws and services parents of children with special needs are entitled to."

Arriving at MassBay in 2010, Touria found the biggest challenge to be grammatical techniques in writing. "I got an A- in English 101," she notes proudly. "But I needed to work on my writing skills."

She found MassBay to be gratifying. "I came to MassBay because it was about seven minutes from my home in Framingham, and when I checked the backgrounds of professors I was impressed," she says. "For a community college to have this highly qualified professors is great. I knew I was coming to learn from the best."

She also appreciates the diversity at MassBay. "My classmates are of different ages and stages in life, and they have different ways of thinking than adolescents might. I like the debates we have, and when people defend their points of view because their life experience, background and culture is reflected in their answers."

"It's like a small world on campus," she says.

Touria beams as she says that her son Amine is doing well at the Framingham School for the Deaf, speaking out loudly in class. It's likely that he's as proud of his mom as she is of him.

Touria Benotmane is pursuing associate degrees in psychology and paralegal studies and hopes to transfer to Wellesley College or Mount Holyoke in May.