Community college proves to be a good first step for second-time student

Ben Ochsner graduated from Phoenix High School in 2003. “No one had ever talked to me about community college,” he recalls, “and I went straight to Oregon State University.” Quickly, he realized that he was in over his head academically, as many young students are during their first year in university. So Ben came back to the Rogue Valley and got a job with a...

RCC online student: ‘I felt like my professors were really invested in teaching to help students learn’

Brina Collins could be the star of that old Johnny Cash song — she’s been everywhere. After graduating high school in Ohio, she moved to a remote Alaskan island. It became difficult to access medical treatment for her child, who has a rare lung condition, so she came back to the mainland in 2020, moving to Oregon to be closer to medical facilities and find...

Initially nervous, business student finds support to succeed at Rogue Community College

At the time Kristen Morales finished high school in 2014, the question of what to do with the rest of her life was overwhelming. She took a year off of school to try to figure it out. She started at Rogue Community College in 2015 but still didn’t know what exactly she wanted. Always having been drawn to business, she took some prerequisite courses but...

Online classes provide flexibility for working mom

Originally from Merced County, California, Holly Smyth has been in Grants Pass since 2005 and started attending classes at Rogue Community College to get her GED in 2012. Years later, she decided to return to finish what she had started and received her GED in October 2019. She is now working for her associate degree. “I know I need an education,” Holly says, “because I...

Portrait of Nik Sorensen and family

RCC fits the bill for pre-med student with a mission

Nik Sorensen had already earned two master’s degrees when he decided to pivot in his career path and enrolled in science courses at Rogue Community College. Since graduating high school in Talent, Oregon, in 2007, Nik has been on a journey to discover his passion. He served a two-year church mission in Taiwan, then attended Brigham Young University, where he double-majored in history and Chinese,...

After years of low-wage jobs, RCC grad now pursues career in higher education

At age 16, Kelsey Carlson graduated from Crater High School in Central Point, Oregon, but she was unable to afford college, so she started working.   She spent years in low-wage jobs, but when her husband started classes at Rogue Community College to become a diesel mechanic, she thought, “If he can do it, I can do it.”    So she did.   Kelsey started at...

After losing her home in Almeda fire, mom-to-be pursues two degrees to build a better future for her family

For 14 years, Whitney Barnard has worked in design. Now, she’s at Rogue Community College in order to get into a more highly-paid position. She knows she needs a design and digital media degree to get promoted, but also has leadership aspirations. That’s why she’s pursuing two degrees at once at Rogue: one for design and digital media and one for business and marketing to...

From learning English to digital design, RCC student draws a new path for her future

Laura Quintero Antón is a person who cares about her community. During the 2020 Almeda Fire that decimated Talent, she served as a translator for Spanish-speaking residents who lost their homes. Laura was able to provide this service because she is a native Spanish speaker who learned English in Rogue Community College’s English Language Acquisition (ESL/ELA) program. Now, just six years after moving to Southern...

Firefighter in the making

Nayely Contreras had an idea she’d like to pursue a career helping others when she first met with a faculty advisor at Rogue Community College. Maybe nursing, maybe firefighting, maybe even criminal justice. “I was all over the place,” the sophomore recalled. She met with Gary Heigel, chair of the Emergency Services Department, to make a plan. “He helped me out.” Nayely took a few...

Student-athlete sets eyes on the future

Rogue Community College center midfielder Rosendo Juarez Flores has his feet on the soccer field and his eyes on the future. The 22-year-old sophomore, who goes by the nickname Pizo, is just four classes away from completing an Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer (AAOT) degree with an interest in pre-professional medicine. Pizo’s career goal is to become a physical therapist. “It took my knee to...