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’s flexible schedule helps future teacher prepare for transfer to university

Ben Davis didn’t finish high school knowing what he wanted to do next. He worked in landscaping jobs for a while, then became a teacher’s aide at an elementary school. For years, the idea of going to college had been hovering around him, but he hadn’t known what he would want to study. As a teacher’s aide, he got to explore his passion for teaching....

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,...

Portrait of Michael Surgeon

Teacher’s lesson: Building community is key to student success

Michael Surgeon has always wanted to teach.   Right out of high school, he knew he needed to start higher education — but the nearest university was too expensive, so he turned to community college. “I definitely made the right choice,” Michael says. “RCC was the place where I developed as a student. Erika Giesen and Verne Underwood really kept me on track in the humanities.”...

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...