Alumni Profile: Dr. Paula Borden

Paula Borden attended Hill Learning Center from elementary school until her high school graduation in 1994. Her education continued at Wingate University, graduating with a Bachelors degree in 1998. Paula went on to receive a Masters degree from North Carolina Central University and Ph.D from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical University. Dr. Borden Is the Co-director of Carolina Higher Education Opportunity Programs (CHEOP) at UNC Chapel Hill. Paula spent two years as an AmeriCorps (VISTA) volunteer. She currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Hill Learning Center.

Paula remembers coming to Hill as a young child who struggled with homework that took a long time to complete. She credits her parents with educating themselves about learning differences and choosing Hill for her. As a Hill student, she grew in confidence. “I can do this and be successful in it!” She felt comfortable in a community of students that learned differently where she was able to identify and understand her academic strengths and areas for development. Paula says, “I never questioned being college-bound. I learned that learning different is not a bad thing.”

Hill provided a positive change in Paula’s academic life. “I learned strategies for how to study; I improved in reading speed and comprehension skills, writing and math. I benefited greatly from the small classroom environment.” She also appreciated being in a learning community, an “encouraging environment”, with other students with similar backgrounds.

Even after leaving Hill, Paula believes many of the strategies she learned as a high school student were applicable as she pursued graduate degrees. In her word, “Hill helped me develop the confidence to feel and know that I could earn those advanced degrees. Hill helped me to see I am not learning disabled but learning abled.”

When Paula speaks to current and future Hill students, she offers these words, “You can do it! Why not you? You have all the talents and gifts to accomplish your academic and career dreams. Take it one day at a time and be willing to put the persistence and grit into making your dreams a reality. Always know that as [Hill] alums, we are here as a resource. Do not hesitate to reach out.”


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