Skip to main content

The Many Paths to Swarthmore


First-generation student Anyssa El Manfaa ’21 transferred to Swarthmore from the Community College of Philadelphia after a serendipitous meeting inspired her to continue her education. Anyssa, a peace & conflict studies major, was working her regular shift at a South Philadelphia bakery when she overheard customers in line discussing physics—a topic close to her heart.

When those customers got up to the counter to pay, she peppered them with questions about their conversation. As she turned her attention back to work, one of them reached into his pocket, handed Anyssa a $50 bill, and told her that she should be in school. Inspired, Anyssa used the $50 tip and her savings to reenroll at the Community College of Philadelphia before eventually transferring to Swarthmore.

“As a South Philly kid, as a community college student, as a first generation student, as the daughter of an immigrant, I thought all of these intersections were parts of my identity that would hold me back. Now I’ve realized that all of those identities are momentum for me as a person.”

Learn more about transfer students at Swarthmore
Learn more about first-generation students at Swarthmore
Learn more about supporting students like Anyssa

Submissions Welcome

The Communications Office invites all members of the Swarthmore community to share videos, photos, and story ideas for the College's website. Have you seen an alum in the news? Please let us know by writing