February 14, 2022 Melissa Lamar

Tunxis Community College student Diego Horisberger has been named a 2022 DREAM Scholar by Achieving the Dream (ATD), a national, nonprofit leader in advancing community college student success. He is one of only eight community college students to be selected for the program from across the country.

Chosen through a competitive application process, Horisberger and the other students will participate in ATD’s virtual 2022 DREAM Student Scholars program, which provides tailored leadership development and networking opportunities.

“We are very excited for Diego, and look forward to hearing more about his experiences and where his journey takes him after the conclusion of this program and in the future,” said Dr. James Lombella, regional president, North-West Region, Connecticut Community Colleges.

“There’s a sense of accomplishment that comes with being selected as a DREAM Scholar,” said Horisberger, 20, of West Hartford, who will graduate in May 2022 with an associate in arts degree in art studies, and is the first in his family to earn a college degree. Horisberger plans to continue his studies in art with a concentration in photography at a four-year college or university, with an interest in learning more about museum curation, fine arts or teaching fine arts higher education.

“I am passionate about using art as a means to explore myself and the world around me, knowing that images showcase perspectives and experiences,” he said. “Throughout my time at Tunxis, I have really liked talking with the professors, and all of the resources both they and the college have shared with me, which helped me grow as a person.” In addition to his studies, Horisberger works in the Tunxis Welcome Center, where he helps new students find their way and a sense of belonging.

As a DREAM Scholar, Horisberger will also participate in the virtual ATD Dream conference Feb. 15-17, including sharing his story through an autobiographical poem that will be prerecorded and shared at the conference. In excerpts from the piece, he writes,

“…I am from the ever-constant worry of finances because of our working-class background 

I am from vicarious hopes of upwards mobility 

From parental instillment about the importance of education,

From reaching my hands out in hope of living a life better than my parents…” 

Later in the poem, he reflects on Tunxis and the influence he has felt from artists and authors who depict marginalized communities and humanize different populations.

 “…I have grown through library and lab access and personal relations with my professors… 

Now I am at the jumping off point… 

Of big hopes and plans 

To use the camera as a weapon, document voices of the unheard 

And use powerful images to instill change…” 

“I am grateful that Diego’s voice and perspective will be heard at ATD’s conference so that together we can better understand the experiences of first-generation students, create more awareness among higher education leaders, and find sustainable solutions that enable more students like Diego to continue to thrive and be successful,” said Dr. Darryl Reome, Tunxis Campus CEO.

During the event, Horisberger and the other scholars will also meet with community college leaders, share their educational experiences, and attend sessions focused on improving student success. Additionally, each 2022 DREAM Scholar will receive a scholarship to support their educational or personal journey.

Tunxis is one of 300 community colleges in the national ATD network, committed to helping underserved students achieve their goals for academic success, personal growth and economic opportunity. TCC has made significant strides in reducing equity gaps and increasing student success since becoming an ATD college in 2019.

Located in Farmington, Tunxis offers more than 70 associate degrees and certificates including advanced manufacturing, allied health specialties, business, cybersecurity, and data science, which prepare students for further studies and transition into the workforce. TCC’s Transfer Ticket associate degrees provide seamless transfer and a low-cost pathway to a bachelor’s degree at the Connecticut State Universities and Charter Oak State College. For more information, visit tunxis.edu/academics.