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From Mozambique to Maricopa – Isaac Batu (Alumni Profile)

Isaac Batu walking down the stairs as a PC student Isaac Batu in commencement regalia standing up to be recognized by graduates at 2016 graduation Isaac Batu standing at his desk working from home

Isaac Batu graduated from Phoenix College (PC) in 2016 with an associate’s degree in accounting, and at the commencement ceremony he was announced as recipient of the prestigious $10,000 Diane Thomas Transfer Scholarship. Isaac had a solid vision for his future, and he was off to a great start! 

The Diane Thomas Scholarship helps students transfer to a four-year institution to continue their studies and pursue a higher degree. The scholarship is named after Ms. Diane Thomas, who wore many hats in her life: commercial photographer, television personality, small business owner, arbiter for the Better Business Bureau, author, freelance writer, photojournalist, and college instructor. Her legacy includes endowed scholarships at Phoenix College and Glendale Community College.

Isaac’s life was not always full of hope and promise. He lost his father before he was born, and at the age of two he was separated from his mother. Before coming to the United States, Isaac lived in a refugee camp for seven years in Mozambique, a country on the southeastern African coast. He witnessed conflict arising within the camp due to language barriers, so Isaac took it upon himself to create a youth association aimed at teaching international languages; namely, English, French, and Portuguese – serving as the association’s first teacher. From these initiatives he was positioned to provide interpretative services to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agents; thereby assisting refugees in the resettlement program before finally making his way to the United States himself. 

Once settled in Arizona, Isaac enrolled at Phoenix College, juggling his academic courses while holding down a full-time job, being a father to three growing children, and caring husband. It would have been easy for Isaac to keep his head down while at PC and simply concentrate on school work and his family, however, this was not Isaac’s style. While attending PC, Isaac was also a member of Phi Theta Kappa (Honors Fraternity), Phi Beta Lambda (Future Business Leaders of America), and the Honors Program. 

After graduating from Phoenix College, Isaac completed a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in accounting from Grand Canyon University. He is currently working in public accounting while preparing for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam. He also started a bookkeeping business on the side to help small businesses grow, and plans to dedicate his skills to helping minority businesses build a better future for their families.

Isaac has a passion for learning. During the pandemic, he became more aware of how integral information technology is to business success. Wishing to better prepare himself for the future, Isaac returned to PC to start computer programming courses.  This plan was eventually derailed when one of his children fell ill, which necessitated taking a break from his renewed studies.

 “My belief is that when you combine accounting and programming together you are an asset to any business. In the technology era we live in, we see more automation. My plan is to go back to school for a programming degree or certificate, once I achieve my CPA license.  The $10,000 scholarship I received from Phoenix College made an outstanding achievement and improvement in my career goals and my life.  I look forward to helping others in my community achieve their goals.” – Isaac Batu ‘16

Access to higher education is increasingly out of reach for many people. Scholarships, funded through private generous support, help students pursue their dreams without taking on student debt or worry about how to pay for basic needs and tuition. Help students like Isaac achieve their dreams through academic scholarships. Learn more at phoenixcollege.edu/waystogive.

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