Claudia Ortiz, MassBay Community College’s Assistant Director of International Admissions, has a passion for working with international students. MassBay organizes and shares information for families so they can learn how the system works here in the U.S. More often than not, parents of MassBay international students didn't pursue higher education in their home countries, so we help them navigate the financial aid piece by evaluating and translating documents for them. We plan to continue this new initiative in Spanish, Haitian Creole, and Portuguese, as those are the languages spoken by the majority of the international families at MassBay. Claudia, an immigrant herself, knows that the parents find this assistance incredibly helpful.
Students might think that they are not allowed to attend MassBay due to their immigration status, so they’re always relieved to hear that it’s perfectly fine for them to enroll and that there are resources and supports available for them. We give them hope so that they can continue with their dreams.
Claudia is a strong believer in community college because it allowed her to explore higher education in this country as an immigrant and as a first generation college student. She completed her associate degree in New York and was able to transfer to Northeastern University. Her story is a testimony to her accomplishment of going to college and earning her degree. She explains to students how they, too, can become acclimated and learn the English language and about the higher education system here.
She is also a strong believer in community college because of the flexibility it offers and the abundance of support and resources available to students. She shares that message with prospective students. They can come to MassBay to complete an associate degree or a certificate and then are able to transfer to a four-year college. Most of our international students transfer to Northeastern, Babson, Bentley, UMass Boston, or UMass Lowell, to pursue and continue with some of the STEM programs. Claudia is proud to talk about MassBay because she has witnessed previous students’ transformation in terms of how much they grew, both academically and personally.