June 18, 2021

Inna Horbovtsova has completed the portion of her academic journey that involves Great Bay Community College, but the lessons she learned at Great Bay, in the classroom and in the community, will stay with her forever.

The international student graduated in May 2020 with an associate degree in Digital Media Communications and has spent the past year completing practical training as a graphic design intern at Annapurna Solutions and volunteering as a digital media teaching assistant at Great Bay. In the fall, she will begin taking classes at Plymouth State University, where she will earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design.

At Great Bay, she gained the confidence to express her personal creative vision.

“I always felt like I was a creative person and just needed the chance to express it,” said Horbovtsova, who came to the United States from the Ukraine, where she had earned her bachelor’s degree in English and was on a career path to work as an English language translator.

“English was not a bad thing to have in my backpack. It gave me the opportunity to communicate and travel. But once I graduated, I realized I didn’t want to be a translator.”

But “graphic design clicked for me,” she said. “With graphic design, I realized how I can communicate a message. This is the tool I can use to express to myself.”

She acquired those tools at Great Bay and refined them through classes taught by Beverly Hodsdon and Annette Cohen. After Horbovtsova graduated from Great Bay in 2020, Dr. Cohen asked if I would like to volunteer as a teaching assistant in remote Digital Media classes.

Hodsdon also hired Horbovtsova as a freelance artist to design a book cover by Seacoast writer Jim Freiburger, An Iowa Farm Boy’s Odyssey: Priest, Parent, Professor. Hodsdon needed help with the cover image and reached out to her former student. The author wanted to convert an old photo to look like a watercolor painting with a silhouette walking away from the barn, and the image required a certain expertise and additional refinement.

In addition to receiving a fee for her first published work, Horbovtsova also received a credit on the copyright page of the book.

“It is a great success story for us both,” Hodsdon said. “I loved having her as a student for two years, and now, seeing how much her talent continues to grow, love being able to hire her for real-world projects. I want people to know what she is achieving. I am so proud of her.”

During her time as a student at Great Bay, Horbovtsova worked as a peer tutor and lab assistant in the Center for Academic Planning and Support and served as president of the International Club and as a mentor in Project GRAD. She was named Student of the Year in 2020.

Volunteering as a teaching assistant after she graduated allowed her to share her knowledge and skills with other students while staying connected to the college. Although she graduated last May, Horbovtsova will be among graduates from 2020 who will participate in commencement ceremonies on May 15, to make up for last year’s pandemic-related cancelation of an in-person event.

“It is very nice they invited us,” said Horbovtsova, 27, who lives in Exeter.

She will always attribute her confidence and success to the attention she received at Great Bay. “I am really thankful for the opportunity Beverly Hodsdon gave me to express my skills and talent and for all the help and support that she gives me and other students. Even though we’ve already graduated from the program, we still keep in touch, and we know that we can reach out anytime with any questions and she will be there for us,” Horbovtsova said.  She adds “I am very thankful to Dr. Cohen for giving me the opportunity to volunteer as a teaching assistant in remote Digital Media classes.  She is also always there for me and I appreciate all her help.”