April 18, 2022

Catherine Gnali gives her absolute best in everything she does. “Anything that interests me, I take it on,” she says. ”I grow and learn, if I see anything of interest.”

Education as a Family Value

Originally from the Ivory Coast, Catherine and her family moved to Minnesota when she was 8 years old.  Fluent in French and English, she highly values education.

“Education has always been a part of my family’s values. My grandfather was a lawyer who always had his head in a book, and my father was the same way,” Catherine remembers. “Education has always been important.  I wouldn’t know anything else. And there’s different forms of education as part of the whole.  You can learn anywhere.”

A Welcoming Environment at Century College

After graduating high school in 2014, Catherine attended a 4-year college, but it wasn’t a good fit for her.  She didn’t find a sense of community there, staying in her dorm and working on assignments only. After a while, she decided to stop out and work.

Looking for another alternative, she found out about Century College, and worked with an advisor who took the time to help her understand her options, and helped her get her education back on track.

Honing Leadership Skills Through Student Life Opportunities

Catherine soon got involved in Student Life as Student Senate Treasurer. She loved the role, and enjoyed being the voice of Century College students, and meeting with members of the College Administration.  She served on the campus Mental Health Committee, and also assisted Student Life Director Jenn Rassett with Title IX work at the College.

In addition, she served as the Vice President of the Psychology Club last year, and now serves as President.  This year, she was elected President of the Student Senate, and has taken on each opportunity presented in that role, including meeting Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, and giving a speech on the importance of vaccines when the Governor’s team visited Century College for a vaccine-related media event in December 2021.

“My Century College experiences have strengthened my confidence,” Catherine notes. “And  made me understand and believe that there is no task that I’m unable to accomplish!  I roll through opportunities, thanks to a strong support system and the many opportunities at Century. 

“And serving as Student Senate President was my most favorite experience of all. I enjoyed being a voice, an advocate, for my peers.”

Outstanding Student Award in Psychology

Catherine, who will be graduating in May 2022, recently received the Century College Outstanding Student Award in Psychology.  “When I received email regarding the award, I was surprised. I don’t do things for recognition,” she says. “And that topped off my confidence. I work very hard on my education, and this award has pushed me to keep going.”

She plans to continue her education at a four-year university, and is currently looking at her options.  Her eventual goal is to continue until she achieves her dream of becoming a psychiatrist.

Advice for New Students

Based on her own experience, Catherine advises that new Century College students should take the time to understand all the opportunities at the College. “You’ll find a sense of belonging and community here, and the faculty and staff members will make an extra commitment to you,” she says. “I’ve seen this from different perspectives, as a student, and as someone who has had conversations behind closed doors, working with administrators.

“There’s a tremendous amount of work that the professors put in, especially when you’re comparing Century College to a four-year university.  College can be scary, but at Century, you’ll  find that sense of ‘we’ll get it figured out.’”

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