Vitória Nogueira, a second year student at Housatonic Community College (HCC), has been named a 2023 DREAM Scholar by Achieving the Dream (ATD). As one of eight students chosen from participating community colleges across the country, Nogueira will partake in a year-long experiential learning opportunity for students to grow as leaders.
“Vitória is an impressive, engaged member of the Housatonic community, and we are so proud that she was selected to be a DREAM Scholar,” said Dwayne Smith, Ph.D., HCC Chief Executive Officer. “As the first DREAM Scholar from Housatonic, she is inspiring our students to be resilient and reach for their dreams.”
Nogueira’s academic journey was forever changed when, at age seventeen, as a high school senior in Brazil, she immigrated to the United States as her family sought a better life. While always passionate about learning and a top student in her home country, she faced prejudice and discrimination as she acclimated to a new culture, learned English and attended school.
Despite the challenges, Nogueira earned high marks, but the weight of stress triggered anxiety and eventually, a panic attack. A psychology teacher taught her techniques for managing pressure and her eyes were opened to warning signs in other students and community members. A passion for the mental health field was born.
“My dream is to become a psychiatrist and serve the immigrant and underserved population of Connecticut,” said Nogueira. “I want to fight the mental health stigma and devote all my efforts to bringing awareness to give people the tools they need.”
Nogueira attends HCC thanks to a scholarship from the Housatonic Community College Foundation, and will graduate this spring with a major in Psychology. From there, her sights are set on medical school.
In addition to attaining her education at HCC, she volunteers on and off-campus, works in her family’s business, and interns at the Yale School of Medicine’s neuroscience research lab, focusing on the impact of prenatal brain development on Autism and Schizophrenia.
“Vitória puts her head down and up,” said Katrina Camerato, Nogueira’s achievement coach and HCC’s Women’s Center Coordinator. “She puts her head up to look at what’s next, but puts it down to work on whatever she has to do.”
“We all have obstacles, it’s about creating opportunities for yourself,” said Nogueira.
Housatonic Community College is located at 900 Lafayette Blvd. in Bridgeport, CT. Visit www.housatonic.edu to learn more.