Stories of Excellence–Tomika Tamar Snyder
Tomika Tamar Snyder has a heart for service and a goal of excellence. As a non-traditional college student, she embraced her educational experience with open arms, learning as much from her experiences outside the classroom as within. Building upon her Mitchell experience, she now embraces and encourages an at-risk population and aims to educate others to do the same.
After high school graduation, Snyder chose to enter the workforce rather than immediately continue her education. In 2010 as a wife and mother to four, she made the transition into higher education. On the encouragement of her mentor, Snyder enrolled at Mitchell to pursue her goals and to better support her family.
She began coursework in the human services program, knowing she wanted to work in the social work field. Snyder quickly adjusted to college life and made the dean’s list her first semester. “One of my favorite parts of being at Mitchell,” she said, “was being part of a great community that pushed me to be my best. I learned to work with people from diverse backgrounds.” Being a non-traditional student, Snyder was encouraged by the variety of student age and experience. “You have such a good mix of people at Mitchell. Some students are right out of high school, other students have grandkids.”
Snyder decided to run for Student Government and was elected as vice president. “It was something that was out of my comfort zone,” she recalled, “but I had people around me that believed I could do a good job. It feels good to see our impact still on the campus seven years later.” During her tenure, the Student Government Association supported the campaign to make Mitchell a tobacco free campus. She was also part of the Human Services Club and Phi Theta Kappa.
While several faculty and staff members made an impact on Snyder, her advisor Sally Dellinger stood out. “She really prepared me for my job in the substance abuse/mental health field,” Snyder noted. She also shared how well prepared she felt for her job, even compared to peers with higher year degrees. As with many students of the time, Snyder also was impacted by former staff member Lamont Kinney. “He was the heart of Mitchell. It didn’t matter what kind of day you were having, when you saw Lamont, you got a smile, a ‘how are you doing,’” she shared. “He had an amazing spirit about him, and he was so much bigger than his job. I don’t know anyone who when you say Lamont’s name they don’t smile.”
In 2012, Snyder graduated with an associate in applied science degree in human services. She returned to Mitchell two years later to obtain an associate in arts degree, and she graduated again in 2016. She currently works at Daymark Recovery Services, a facility-based crisis center in Statesville, as an administrative assistant. Snyder was first hired at Daymark while still a Mitchell student and has worked for them in several capacities over the past seven years. She truly enjoys her job and knows the significance of her position. “When I told Ms. Dellinger about my job, she emphasized how important it was,” Snyder recalled. “I am the first person that people who are struggling come into contact with. I need to make sure that I am kind and give them as much information as possible so that they can get the help they need.”
The core values Snyder was taught at Mitchell have been instrumental in her career success. Even on the hardest days, she strives to be devoted and caring. “There are challenges, but I look at it as being the hands and feet of God,” she shared. “We need to be polite to our patients and make sure they are comfortable. Lots of times they don’t get that in the general public because they are looked down upon.” Snyder enjoys helping patients get the help they need and watching them overcome their addictions.
After Mitchell, Snyder attended Fayetteville State University online to get her bachelor’s degree in psychology. She is currently working on her a master’s degree in public health from Lenoir Rhyne University and is set to graduate in spring of 2021. She may even continue on to her Doctorate. Snyder plans to continue her work at Daymark and pursue being a health educator. She wants to be able to pass on her knowledge to future generations of social/human services workers. Snyder already does this in part by mentoring Mitchell students in the human services program. She serves as the contact person for Mitchell students at her agency. She has also returned to campus as a guest speaker.
Watching Snyder pursue her educational dreams has greatly influenced her own children. Her daughter is a current Mitchell student and has plans to become a teacher. Her three sons have big goals for themselves as well. Her youngest son wants to be an EC teacher, due in part to his brother’s journey with Down syndrome. Snyder says that all of her children share her “servant’s heart” and want to give back to their community.
Snyder advises Mitchell students to work hard and enjoy their time at the college. “Mitchell is a great place to learn, not only about academics, but about life,” she said. “It gives you a great cross-section of life in one location. You get such a diverse feel for this county. Take advantage of the contacts you make. Mitchell gives you a great foundation that you can grow on daily. I am a proud alumni and a proud parent of future Mitchell students.”
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