CSM Spring Graduates: Brother, Sister Nicholas and Christina Combs Share Spring 2017 Commencement

Nicholas Combs is assisted by his sister, Christina, as she adjusts his cap before graduation May 18. The two CSM graduates, both from Chaptico, are the oldest of seven siblings.
Nicholas Combs
SGA President Nicholas Combs, 22, of Chaptico leads his fellow graduates into spring commencement May 18.

Oldest of Seven Works Toward Becoming a History Professor

For home-schooled Nicholas Combs, 22, of Chaptico, attending the College of Southern Maryland (CSM) was life-changing. “My first real classroom experience was here. It was a bit of a culture shock,” he said with a laugh. “But I survived.”

Learning to work in a group was the first skill he needed to master at the college, he said. He tends to be independent and was used to doing things by himself. But group work turned out to be one of the things he most enjoyed about his college experience.

“That’s the best part about college,” he said. “You get to meet people and work with people and also learn new things.”

Combs devoted himself to his classes and the college experience. He made dean’s list every semester and served as an officer for Phi Theta Kappa, international honor society for two-year colleges, and as the president of both the student government association and student activities. He was involved with the National Society of Leadership and Success. He worked as a tutor, did odd jobs and worked on campus to get through school debt-free. “I practically lived here,” he said, speaking in April from the student activities office where he was putting in some of his required office hours.

He also benefited from a Sen. Waugh Scholarship, a Chip Norris Scholarship and a St. Mary’s County Government Scholarship. The oldest of seven children, he said he wanted to shoulder the expenses of college as much as he could. “The scholarships were very helpful,” he said.

CSM was a good choice for him for a variety of reasons. “It’s close to home. There’s a good variety of professors and they know their fields,” he said. “There are many ways to students to get involved outside of the classroom.”

Combs earned four associate degrees with honors during his three years at CSM — arts and sciences, arts and sciences: history, general studies: criminal justice and general studies: history. His plan after graduation is to continue his education, focusing on history studies. His ultimate goal is to teach at the university level. Some of his favorite classes at CSM were history classes, he said, mentioning both Introduction to Western Civilization and Medieval History taught by Dr. Chretien Guidry as highlights in his college career thus far.

Graduate from Chaptico Dreams of Heading up a Nonprofit

Nicholas Combs is assisted by his sister, Christina, as she adjusts his cap before spring graduation May 18. The two CSM graduates, both from Chaptico, are the oldest of seven siblings.

Christina Combs, 21, of Chaptico is the second of seven siblings and not only has attended CSM at the same time as her older brother, Nicholas Combs, 22, but also shared spring 2017 graduation.

Like her brother, Christina has been active in student leadership at the Leonardtown Campus, serving as the vice president of student activities.

Getting to know her professors was the highlight of her CSM career, Christina said. “I love the professors at CSM. They have left a huge positive impact on me.

“I would never had imagined that I would get to know the professors personally and that they would come to mean so much to me. These people have become my role models and sounding boards. I go to them for advice, to visit and to learn,” she said. “These teachers have encouraged me to do my best academically and professionally, making me aware of new opportunities that I can strive for.”

Three professors, in particular, stood out to Christina — Albert N. Bleakley, Dr. Chretien Guidry and Michael F. Maloney. Bleakley, her ITS professor, helped Christina with advice about classes and services at the college. Guidry, a history professor, helped her decide on a career focus. Over the course of her two years at CSM, Christina said she took every class taught by Michael F. Maloney, a sociology, psychology and personality development professor. “Because of his classes, I am a much stronger and happier person,” she said.

Christina plans to continue her education at either Salisbury or Cornell University and aims to earn her bachelor’s and then master’s degrees. She is working toward a career as a nonprofit activist and entrepreneur.