White Mountains Community College
Associate of Arts in Teacher Preparation, 2014
Groveton, NH resident Leif Becker wasn’t sure what career path he wished to pursue or what direction to take. He was, however, familiar with White Mountains Community College (WMCC) – his older brother as well as his mother who was a local teacher had taken classes at the college.
“A lot of people from the area used WMCC as a resource, including my mother who had taken continuing education classes at the college. Having had a parent who was a teacher made pursuing teacher education a comfortable fit.”
WMCC was convenient and close to home for Leif, who planned to get his general education classes out of the way.
“The college was a value pick for me – I knew I would gain a ton by starting at WMCC and staying local.”
Leif became very connected with his peers in the teacher education program. The tight knit group would often have lunch and spend time together outside of class.
“I was a peer tutor and ended up becoming friends with many of my peers who I also tutored. I built many friendships while at WMCC that I still have to this day. Many of my peers who became close friends are now teachers. I make a point to see them every time I am in the area.”
Several faculty members had an impact on Leif including David Benckendorf who taught history, Susan Zoino who taught college composition and his advisor Deb Stewart.
“There are exceptional people at the college. Deb was extremely kind and took great interest in me. She really made the teaching program special. The adjunct professors work in the field and choose to teach because it’s a passion of theirs. This makes a huge difference for students because the professors are able to truly engage them, and they are able to better retain the material.”
While enrolled at WMCC, Leif worked as a local carpenter.
“Carpentry fit very well with school. I could work when I needed to and had flexibility to go to classes. The college schedule was flexible in itself and it was easy to balance.”
Leif graduated from WMCC with an Associate of Arts in Teacher Preparation and went on to Plymouth State, enrolling initially in the teaching program and switching shortly after to political science and government.
“I always had an interest in political science and had recently started toying with the idea of pursuing law school. I casually started perusing schools and learned that they were scrambling to get students in the door. I decided to switch to political science and government with the intent of pursuing my law degree upon graduating with my BS.”
Leif graduated a semester early from Plymouth State and attended UNH School of Law shortly after. He took the bar in July 2019, received his results – and three days after learning he had passed, had an interview lined up.
“My hard work paid off and everything was falling into place. Shortly after my interview, I was offered a position as a litigation attorney for a Portsmouth firm.”
Leif credits WMCC for shaping his path.
“WMCC gave me the foundation I needed to continue my education and did so in a high value, cost-effective way.”
When asked what advice he’d give to students, Leif had this to say:
“Become very comfortable speaking up and advocating for yourself. Also, take opportunities, such as service, even when they don’t initially seem like they are going to be advantageous to you. Everything comes full circle.”