Each student who steps through the doors at GateWay Community College has their own unique story. For Tumaini Donedison, his journey is a culmination of the dreams he had in the first grade.
Donedison, who goes by Don, knew he wanted to design video games all the way back in elementary school. Throughout the years, he learned computer programming, software development, and even designed his own games.
In high school, Don participated in the Arizona Future Business Leaders of America competition. His team, which designed a video game, performed exceptionally well and earned a spot on the national stage. Along the journey to qualify for nationals, a competition judge shared information about GateWay with him and he decided to explore the possibilities of continuing his education.
After looking into what opportunities were available to him at GateWay, Don was offered a scholarship that he could not refuse. He was asked to join the first NSF-Stem Scholars Program at GateWay, the program allowed him to get his entire first two years of college paid for and further his dreams of working in the gaming industry.
Don was in high school when the COVID-19 pandemic brought life to a halt in the Spring of 2020. He was able to find a great groove working on his own while adapting to online learning, and used that experience to immediately get on a successful track in college.
“I got used to working on my own, and it really helped me when I got into college because I was able to complete school at my pace,” said Don.
Learning how to be a student in college went beyond the material of classes for Don. He began his first full-time job while attending GateWay, and learned how to balance education, work, and his hobbies.
“I had to learn how to manage my classes while also juggling a 40-hour work week,” Don said. “I passed all of my classes with ‘A’s while also learning a bit of money management.”
Donedison now attends Arizona State University, continuing his education to one day become a video game developer.