Meet our Graduate
Tiffany Burnett, 2011 Graduate
MiraCosta graduate and U.S. Navy veteran Tiffany Burnett had the distinguished honor of addressing the graduating class as keynote speaker at the 2011 commencement. A sociology major, Tiffany is attending college thanks to the new post-9/11 G.I. Bill, and will transfer to UCSD in fall 2011. Once she has a bachelor’s degree in hand, Tiffany hopes to continue her academic pursuits and attain a master’s degree in school counseling, eventually working as a guidance counselor at a low-income high school. A dedicated student and volunteer, Tiffany attributes much of her success to her experiences at MiraCosta College.
“MiraCosta College has given me a platform to reach a place where students can look up to me,” she says. “Since my dream is to be guidance counselor, I have felt empowered to reach that goal. My professors are always hands-on, and don’t forget me when I am not in the class. They are committed to student success at all times.”
Tiffany grew up in a military family in San Bernardino, and enlisted in the U.S. Navy. When Tiffany left the Navy at age 21, she landed a job that paid well; however, when the economy turned south and she got laid off, Tiffany found the job market challenging. She was overqualified for many of the jobs she applied for, and the job opportunities that paid well enough to support her and her young son required a college education. At 27 years old, with a 7 year-old son, Tiffany made the decision to go back to school.
In the summer of 2009, Tiffany started her educational journey at MiraCosta College. Since she was older than many of her classmates, and a single mother, Tiffany thought, “I really didn’t fit in, so I didn’t get involved with any campus activities outside of class.” But in the spring of 2010, once the Veteran’s Lounge had opened up on the Oceanside Campus, Tiffany became a peer adviser for the veterans on campus and joined the Veteran’s Club, ultimately becoming the Inter-Club Council representative for the Associated Student Government (ASG).
Tiffany has accomplished a lot during her tenure at MiraCosta College. An advocate of volunteering and overall campus safety, she helped to create the Students On Patrol (STOP), a unique program established to increase safety for students and others within the college campus community. Tiffany also worked as a student blogger, and dedicated time to ASG’s volunteer committee. With her guidance, the committee completed 200 volunteer hours, which earned ASG the Presidential Service Award from President Obama. Tiffany’s most recent project was “Joe Smoker,” an initiative taken by the ASG to poll the general student body regarding the college becoming smoke-free. In addition to her on-campus volunteer work, Tiffany also volunteers at Casa de Amparo, a children’s shelter for abused and neglected children.
When asked about what has contributed to her academic success, Tiffany exclaims, “Being laid off from employment brings down your self-esteem. But attending classes at MiraCosta College, and having the opportunity to be part of this community and accomplishing so much, has raised my confidence level to be able to go out and pursue greater academic goals.”
Tiffany says she is grateful for the scholarships she received, including the Tim Dong scholarship for service in the community and the Kendra Keaton scholarship for her veteran status. She is also appreciative for veteran services on campus.
“Veterans have unique and special circumstances…we need special attention,” she says. “MiraCosta College is one of the most veteran friendly campuses around.” She says her transfer to UCSD is bittersweet, as she will miss the outstanding veteran services at MiraCosta College and the strong sense of community she has built through her extracurricular activities.
What is Tiffany’s’ advice to other MiraCosta students? “Get involved. Every single club needs new members, but you have to make the effort to go to them. Being part of the activities makes being a student more worthwhile.”