Department: Success Story

Samantha Jinnah

Samantha Jinnah’s path into health care has been gradual. Trips to her uncle’s neurology lab piqued her interest. She considered becoming a doctor. “I didn’t know if I was going to be able to do that, because I was never a blood-and-guts type person,” Jinnah says. A graduate of Olympic High School in Charlotte, N.C.,…
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Samantha Dorwin

Sometimes, you have to step outside your comfort zone, Samantha Dorwin says. With the help of a SkillsUSA advisor – who just happens to be her mom – she was able to go far beyond that. Growing up, Dorwin would giggle when standing in front of a crowd and try to hide behind her hair to distance…
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Ryan Fleenor

Running away from home age 14. Dropping out after the 10th grade. Overdosing on drugs at 18. Despite life’s most difficult setbacks, Ryan Fleenor never lost his entrepreneurial spirit. Now 33, the Utah native has his own business, FleenorMade Products, using mechanical engineering skills to build patio furniture. He works two jobs and freelances in…
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Rohini Dhand

Rohini Dhand moved with her family from New Delhi, India, to the Wisconsin dairyland when she was 11 years old. At that age, starting at a new school can be difficult. Moving to a brand-new country was especially challenging. “In a small town, it was hard to fit in,” she says, referring to herself then…
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Rod Mccurdy

Rod McCurdy

The mission: Build a reed ship and sail it 12,500 miles across the Pacific Ocean. Rod McCurdy, SkillsUSA’s national high school president in 1989-90, temporarily left his position as Lucent Technologies London-based commercial director to help advance the theory of ancient shipbuilders sailing from South America to the Polynesian islands. Aboard the Viracocha II, his…
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Robert Figueroa

Robert Figueroa grew up surrounded by gangs. He and his twin brother became involved by proximity. “It’s not that I chose that life,” explains the resident of Florida’s Gulf Coast. “It’s just, you chill with those people, and then everyone assumes you’re in a gang.” His parents did everything they could to stop him and…
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Ricky Jordan

Camden, N.J., has been ranked as the most dangerous city in the United States. I lived there for 12 years. Each time I went outside could have been the last. I should be dead right now. My mother had a hard time feeding our family and paying the bills. School was a joke to me.…
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Rick Peterson

Rick Peterson

Take the lure of the open road, add the drive to be a leader and mix in ethics of steel, and you’ve got the career of Rick Peterson. Peterson owns a business that leases recreational vehicles while, as a regional sales manager for a major motor-home manufacturer, he traverses the mid-Atlantic states. Between RV shows…
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Rick Parker

Design director Rick Parker has won more awards than he can recall — Addys, Clios, Tellys — all the bullseyes that the advertising industry’s leaders aspire to hit. Now with Bullock Mannelly Partners in Atlanta, the former instructor says the career highlight that touches him most is finding a note a graduating student left on…
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Rawan Saleh

At just barely 16 years old, Rawan Saleh was eager to participate in SkillsUSA’s national Advertising Design contest. She’d only arrived in America from her native Jordan three years prior, after being well known for another kind of talent. Her family left just as Saleh was on the verge of becoming a TV star. “I’d…
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