Where are they now?

Celebrating 50 years: Alumni who found their path at RCC

Angelica Woods-Reuter
Associate of Arts – General Studies (2008), Oregon Transfer degree (2009) 

Angel Woods

Angel started attending classes at Rogue while still in high school in 1992. After graduating from Hidden Valley High School in 1995, she took more classes and worked as a student employee until completing her degrees and walking in the 2009 Rogue Commencement. Her classes and work experience helped her prepare for her career at Rogue as a switchboard operator and secretary in various departments at Rogue. Today, you will find her at the Rogue Welcome Center answering questions on the phone, via email and in person.

Michael (Mike) McClure
Certificate in Massage Therapy (1994), Associate of Arts – Oregon Transfer degree with a focus on Computer Science (2002) 

Mike McClure

Mike is RCC’s director of IT-Network & User Support Services. He first attended classes at Rogue in 1992 and continues to learn here today. Mike was hired as an RCC classified employee in 1995 and moved into management in 2008. He met his wife of 25 years in Lutz Kramer’s International Studies class. His children were cared for at the old RCC Daycare, and now both kids have studied at Rogue. Mike says, “I would not be the person I am without my experiences at Rogue.” He is still working at Rogue after 28 years!

Millie Shawn
General Educational Development: GED (1972), Associate Degree — Practical Nursing (1974), Certificate in Operating Room Technology (1977)

Millie Shawn

Millie had always wanted to be a nurse but put her goal on the back burner when she met her husband. They married when she was a sophomore in high school. She didn’t finish high school as they began their family sooner than planned. When their three daughters were older, she still had the desire of becoming a nurse and caring for those who needed care. She wondered if she could pass the GED test since it had been years since she had cracked open a book but decided to plunge right into the test to see if she had it in her!  Millie said, “It was a surprise when I had passed, and it gave me the courage to apply for the LPN [Practical Nursing] program.” She remembers having some great teachers like Gary Gates, Eric Larson, Mary Slayter, Doc Holiday and David Fuller. It wasn’t easy but she managed to complete the required classes. Her nursing career gave her the ability to work in several areas of nursing: Josephine Memorial’s emergency room and operating room, Southern Oregon Hospital and Royale Gardens Nursing Care. Rogue Community College gave her the BOOST to continue her education and she will always be grateful to RCC. Millie exclaimed, “I AM PROUD TO BE AN ALUMNI!”

Colleen Padilla
Associate of Applied Science in Business Technology (1999)

Colleen Padilla

RCC was the first step in Colleen’s return to education as an adult.  She studied at Rogue between 1997 and 1999, where she really liked basic communication classes and business writing, saying that both are fundamental to the career she currently enjoys. She graduated with a 4.0 GPA and received a top business student award. Then Coleen transferred to Southern Oregon University where she studied communication and business, both of which prepared her for a successful career at Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development, Inc. (SOREDI), where she’s been since 2001. After serving in every capacity at SOREDI over the years, Colleen was named executive director in 2016. She received the RCC Foundation’s Outstanding Alumni Award in 2020.

Eric Walport
Mathematics (transfer)

Eric Walport

An aerospace engineer, Eric met his wife and launched his career at Rogue, where he attended classes between 1998 and 2005, studying general education with a focus on math and physics. Eric transferred to University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) to complete his degree in applied mathematics, but says Rogue had a foundational impact in helping him find his path — both in his career and life. Eric met his wife in a statistics class at Rogue. Today, Eric works as an aerospace engineer with CIRCOR Aerospace and the couple runs Walport Family Cellars, a small winery in the Applegate Valley. Together, Eric and Amy received the RCC Foundation’s Outstanding Alumni Award in 2019.

Amy Walport
Associate of Arts – Oregon Transfer degree (1997)

Amy Walport

Amy earned her Associate of Arts – Oregon Transfer degree in 1997 and came back to Rogue between 2003 and 2005 to complete prerequisites for optometry school.  Amy’s favorite teacher was chemistry instructor John Salinas. “Mr. Salinas was an amazing teacher who was extremely enthusiastic, making chemistry very entertaining. He was also very patient and understanding to my needs not only as a student, but as a mother.” As a single mother and full-time employee at a local optometry office, Amy had a full schedule. Rogue’s night classes allowed her the opportunity to pursue higher education and her goal of becoming a doctor. Today, she’s a practicing optometric physician 5 days a week in Medford. She’s also raising a young daughter with husband Eric, who she met in a statistics class at Rogue. In their spare time, the couple runs a winery and tasting room in the Applegate Valley. Together, Eric and Amy received the RCC Foundation’s Outstanding Alumni Award in 2019.

Gary Brelinski, Jr.
Associate of General Studies (2014)

Gary Brelinski, Jr.

Gary took a few classes at RCC in the late 1990s before eventually pursuing an associate degree, which he completed in 2014. His occupational skills path emphasized chemistry, biology and math — training directly related to his career in public works. His favorite teacher — “hands down” — was Frances Gunson, who was always pleasant and funny, Gary recalls. “She had such a calm demeanor about her. The math classes were tough, but she made it bearable.” Today, Gary is superintendent of the Water Restoration Plant for the City of Grants Pass. “Without RCC, I would not be in this field — period! The training and opportunities that the school and staff have provided cannot be measured. It sounds so glib, but I truly mean it — they helped me be the person I always thought I could be.”

Joan Momsen
Associate of Arts degree (1973)

Joan Momsen

Joan was part of the first class to attend two complete years at the new Rogue Community College, graduating with an associate degree in 1973. She transferred to Southern Oregon College (now SOU), earning a bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Higher education opened to the doors to her 28-year teaching career at Grants Pass High School. She recalled being part of RCC’s first classes in the summer of 1971. The graduation ceremony, complete with robes, was so small it was held in the office of Tenison Haley, dean of students. Joan says all her teachers were great, but the ones that stick out were Jerry Daywitt, Tenison Haley and Mary Slayter. Today, Joan is retired and volunteers at the Josephine County Historical Society.

Kevin Boringot
Transfer student

Kevin Boringot

Kevin was affiliated with RCC from 2012 to 2014 as a student completing general prerequisites in order to transfer to Southern Oregon University (SOU). Kevin remembers having had many amazing classes and instructors at Rogue, but he really enjoyed his chemistry classes with Kevin Culhane as well as interpersonal communications class with Serena St. Clair. Initially, Kevin was unhappy about starting his path at Rogue because he’d wanted to go to a big university. “However, starting out at Rogue was one of the best decisions I made. It allowed me to save a lot of money while receiving excellent education in a smaller-sized class setting. I was able to really focus on my studies while studying under excellent instructors who are passionate about their crafts. Rogue prepared me for the next level and the rigors of studying at bigger institutions.” After graduating from SOU, Kevin taught English for two and a half years in South Korea. He’s now pursuing a master’s degree in applied linguistics with the University of Birmingham while teaching English online and doing substitute staff work for the Medford School District.

Flamur Vehapi
Associate of Arts – Oregon Transfer degree with a focus on Psychology and Writing (2008) 

Flamur Vehapi

“Thanks to Rick Williams’ writing courses at RCC, I am now a published author,” says Flamur Vehapi, who graduated from Rogue in 2008 and taught a few courses here in 2012-2013. Today, Flamur is a college success coach at Portland Community College and is pursuing a PhD in education and leadership at Pacific University. He earned a bachelor’s degree in counseling psychology from Southern Oregon University and a master’s degree in conflict resolution from Portland State University. He’s published several books including poetry and a study of Islamic perspectives on conflict and resolution. Flamur remembers most of his instructors at Rogue as “amazing” and very supportive of his progress. Two that stand out are writing instructor Rick Williams and Greg Marton for psychology. “Through Rogue’s supportive faculty and staff, RCC paved the way for my future successes. As a recent immigrant, and as the only student from Kosovo who struggled with English and a new culture, RCC provided me with a sense of community and belonging, a new home, which I still miss 12 years after my graduation.” 

Jessica Goldberg
Associate of Applied Science in Early Childhood Education (2017)

Jessica Goldberg

Jessica studied early childhood education at Rogue between 2009 and 2017 and has fond memories of instructor Deborah Murphy as a great teacher. Jessica took many of Murphy’s child development classes and said they were a lot of fun. Jessica said RCC “helped me complete my schooling and get my degree and close that chapter in my life.” Today she works as a housekeeper at Rogue Regency Inn in Medford. “I like it,” she said.

Heidi Leib
Transfer studenT

Heidi Leib

Heidi took classes at RCC that she was able to transfer toward her bachelor’s degree in natural resources from Oregon State University. As a transfer student, the TRiO Student Support Services office at RCC guided her university transfer process and played a critical role in her college success. “The staff’s steady guidance and strong encouragement gave me the tools I needed to navigate college, and the confidence to believe I could be a top student,” she said. “Their commitment to my success is what kept me going during times of self-doubt. I am ever grateful for their generosity and sincere dedication to first-generation students.” Heidi said the partnership between RCC and OSU made obtaining her bachelor’s degree an attainable and affordable goal. “The intimate learning setting at RCC, partnered with knowledgeable and approachable staff, helped me feel confident in building relationships with mentors and professors during my college career; it continues to be a foundation for my success today.” Heidi is the Logging Contract Coordinator for Boise Cascade in Willamina, Oregon and serves as a board member of the Oregon Logging Conference.

Briggett Rizzo
Certificate in Emergency Medical Services (2013), Associate of Applied Science in Paramedicine (2014) 

Briggett Rizzo

Briggett put aside her uneasiness about blood and pursued emergency medical services training at Rogue. Gary Heigel and Jim Shaw were her favorite instructors. In just a few years, Briggett has already had a celebrated career as a paramedic. She was named 2017 Paramedic of the Year for Bay Cities Ambulance and received the American Ambulance Association’s Star of Life in 2018. She is currently paramedic supervisor for Umpqua Valley Ambulance in Roseburg, Oregon.

Cheryl Olsen
Associate of General Studies (2019)

Cheryl Olsen

Cheryl credits RCC’s student support services with helping her earn her associate degree in 2019. TRiO advisor Layne Morell was her favorite RCC staff member. “He was so helpful whenever I had questions about classes at RCC or my transfer to SOU. I am grateful for him as well as my involvement in TRiO.” Cheryl took advantage of TRiO’s free tutoring, which helped her earn an A in math. TRiO’s enrichment opportunities also allowed her to attend performances at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and and Medford’s Craterian that she “otherwise would have never experienced.” Cheryl said RCC’s Financial Aid department also helped quite a bit after her life turned upside down during the summer of 2016. She had to drop summer courses because of a serious health diagnosis followed by surgery and a lengthy recovery. She still wasn’t feeling 100% when fall term began in September and thought she would need to put college on hold until she talked with a financial aid advisor who helped her navigate through some adjustments so she could continue attending classes with an abbreviated schedule. “RCC helped me understand that if I put my mind to it, I could accomplish anything,” she said. She earned her associate degree in 2019 and is currently homeschooling her son.

Cheyanne Bumgardner
Transfer student

Cheyanne Bumgardner

Cheyanne Bumgardner was dual-enrolled at RCC while attending high school at Logos Public Charter School. Her favorite course series was Psychology 201 and 202 with Angie Schultz, which led her to declare a psychology minor when she transferred to Western Oregon University (WOU) where she’s pursuing a major in American Sign Language/English interpreting and certificate in leadership. Cheyanne also enjoyed Introduction to Literature – Drama (ENG105) with Chip Phillips, which introduced her to drama in a way she had never been exposed to before and ignited her love for theater. “Chip made his classroom so much fun, with learning and laughing happening during every class session.” She graduated from high school with 61 college credits and valuable experience in the college environment. When Cheyanne entered WOU as a sophomore, she was already familiar with the college atmosphere, how to create a course schedule, how high school and college classrooms differ, how to work with professors and advisors, etc. “That was a huge advantage as an incoming student,” she said.

Dan Petersen
Associate of Arts and Fire Science, 1979 to 2013

Dan Petersen

Dan is the fire chief and CEO for the Unified Fire Authority (UFA) in Utah, serving over 422,000 people in greater Salt Lake with over 600 employees working from 25 Fire Stations. He found his path here at RCC, where he appreciated learning about fire science from career firefighters. “Two instructors stand out, Dave Penicook and Mark Burns. Both delivered highly professional instruction that gave me both the knowledge and skill to do my job as a firefighter.” Dan went on to earn a master’s degree, and became a part-time RCC instructor in the RCC Fire Science program, then served as Fire Science Coordinator. “These opportunities reinforced my desire to be a lifelong learner and gave me a chance to also develop my skills as an instructor,” he said.

Dave McKeen
AAS degree in Electronics Technology, 1993-1995.

Dave McKeen

Dave found his path in an unexpected way. “I really didn’t see the relevance of taking a humanities course as a requirement for an electronics degree, but HUM101 with Lutz Kramer was life-changing. His course is what really got me interested in teaching,” said Dave, an instructor and chair of the Electronics department at RCC. “I tell my students that their education will pay off and change their life. I learned that a degree is so much more than some knowledge/skills and a piece of paper. It represents a body of work and completion of a goal that nobody can take away from you.”

David Matthews
Business Transfer to SOU, 2002-2004 and 2013-2014

David Matthews

An accountant with Josephine County, David says RCC helped him find his path. “It was a great steppingstone toward getting my degree and putting together a solid career. It really helped build confidence.” David says, “BA 131 with Melissa Polen was super fun and useful. Economics was eye opening.”

Elizabeth Butler
Computer science, 1999-2001 and 2015-2016

Elizabeth Butler

The college’s Cooperative Work Exchange program helped Liz find her path to a full-time job in her field. While studying computer science, she took a CWE position at the college that led to student employment that led to her job as the RCC webmaster. Another bonus: “[Math instructor] Tracy Redd almost made me like math.”

Hailey Joling
AAOT, 2013-2015

Hailey Joling

“While RCC was the perfect springboard for furthering my education, I also met my future husband on campus,” says former transfer student Hailey Joling. “We met in a Native American Studies course we were both enrolled in as an elective. We began dating soon thereafter, took other courses together at RCC and eventually were married in the summer of 2018. Not only would I potentially have never met my husband without RCC, but I wouldn’t have created other lifelong friendships and memories as well. RCC has a special place in my heart for not only the education I received there but the relationships created during that time as well.” Hailey recalls her favorite teacher was Spanish instructor Suzanne Lewis Chavez. “Prior to Chavez’s classes, I had always struggled with learning new languages and while intimidated at first, this course quickly became one of my favorites. Subsequently during this time, I took public speaking courses and I remember thinking how in comparison to reciting speeches in a secondary language, as I was required to do in Spanish classes, my public speaking courses in my primary language of English were easily attainable. Since that time, I’ve held on to a similar mindset and went on to pursue my bachelor’s degree in communication.” Today, Hailey works for the Grange Co-op as their digital marketing specialist.

Jason Meyer
Manufacturing/Engineering Technology, 2016-2018

Jason Meyer

Steve Foster was Jason’s favorite RCC instructor and Solid Works CAD design was his favorite class. When Jason was laid off from his job, he wanted to further his career options and turned to RCC. It allowed him to gain knowledge that led to him to starting a business, MSV Racing (msvracingpowersports.com) while going to school. Jason was fortunate to take advantage of the state’s TUI program to help him with my first year of schooling. Today, Jason works for Cummins Inc., NPBU (New Power Business Unit) in Talent, Oregon. He is an engineering technician working with many types of engineers on electrical, mechanical and production projects. He also owns and operates MSV Racing which is growing every year.

John Taylor
University Transfer, 1976-1978

John Taylor

John had SO MANY great teachers. He can picture their faces, but can’t remember many names. John had a P.E. coach named Stu who was a joy — kept the students laughing in the gym and during the health classes he taught. John recalls he got some particularly great coaching and encouragement from a couple of English/literature instructors who were gifted at blending curriculum and class discussion/participation. He says he learned a ton about writing and himself at RCC. John was 18 when he started at RCC, and really needed some grounding and direction. He had no idea who he was, what he wanted to do or how he could ever find his way. He loved high school (graduated from Grants Pass High School) and was terrified and lost when it ended. At that time, RCC had a lot of veterans and older students who were retraining or just taking courses for fun, and the range of experiences, life views and backgrounds was “absolutely mind-blowing.” John says he felt lucky to have so many unwitting mentors who shared their stories over coffee. They were all so diverse, yet so respectful and accepting of one another. They set great examples, and they really helped John get his feet under him before he packed for the University of Oregon in the fall of 1978. John has worked in print journalism for more than 30 years — as a reporter, editor, page designer — at nine newspapers across the West, including a four-year stint at the Daily Courier back in the ’80s. He lives with his wife near Yakima, Washington.

Jonathan Allen
Manufacturing/Engineering Technology Transfer to Oregon Tech, 2011-2014

Jonathan Allen

Jonathan credits Steve Foster, chair of the RCC Manufacturing/Engineering department, with facilitating his career development and pushing him to transfer to university to get his engineering technology degree from Oregon Tech. Some of Jonathan’s best memories are at the Table Rock Campus when he was introduced to CNC programming and operation. “Steve has a great approach to coach a student and guide them to find their own answers,” Jonathan said. As a student tutor for the TRiO SSS program, Jonathan says he improved his own knowledge retention and learned beginner leadership principles that he has expanded on today. Additionally, the TRiO staff helped him polish his scholarship essays which helped him secure scholarships from the RCC Foundation and OSAC. This minimized his student loans and kept him focused on his studies. Jonathan is currently working at Daimler Trucks North America as a manufacturing engineer on the Electric Mobility Group (EMG) electric semi-truck project. His team is developing the safety measures, processes, tools and equipment needed to start production at the Western Star truck manufacturing plant in Portland. Working on a project like this is a great experience using concurrent engineering with the design team to optimize the manufacturability of a product.

Jason Haines
Business and Science, 1987-1988

RCC Sciences helped Jason as a firefighter, RCC Business helped him as a regional store manager. Jason helped Ray’s Sentry Markets open their first 10 bakeries and delis. Then he joined the Navy, where he qualified in submarines and was a navy diver, parachutist, Naval Special Warfare Technician with SEAL Teams and EOD sea lion mammal handler. He was the first-ever Midshipman Brigade Sergeant Major to graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy and became a professional unrestricted Naval Aviator and Special Operations Terminal Attack Controller. Jason has built and led several successful companies, defense & security programs, and community projects. Today, he is Director of Global Stability Operations, entrepreneur and senior project manager for several technology programs.

Jerry Clinton
Associates of Arts Oregon Transfer degree, 2014-2016; transferred to Portland State University to major in English education

Jerry enjoyed many classes at RCC but his favorite was Spanish with instructor Suzanne Cháves, who made class something to look forward to every day. Jerry says he doesn’t want to understate what a great launchpad RCC was for his educational career. RCC offered many of the resources and contacts he needed to transfer smoothly to Portland State University as well as make sure he was financially secure in where he would be going in the future. Jerry got his associate degree at a fraction of the price he would have paid at a larger school, enjoyed quality lectures delivered by memorable and knowledgeable professors, and had access to organizations such as TRiO that employed him and made sure he had access to important resources that helped him succeed as a first-generation college student. Today, Jerry lives in Seoul, South Korea where he is studying international relations at Korea University. After graduation, Jerry is aiming for a job as an international specialist in a business or potentially even a career in diplomacy should he get the chance. Never hurts to keep one’s options open!

John Granacki
Computer Science, 1986-1987 and 1994-1995

Among John’s favorite instructors at RCC were Mike Laam (Programming), Doc Holliday (Mathematics), John Salinas (Chemistry), Walt Padgett (Sculpture), Jack Heard (Watercolor Painting), Marie Mueller (History), Kathy Krauss (English/Composition), Joan Petersen (English/Imaginative Writing, advisor for the Literary Magazine Club, and Rogue’s Gallery 1995). John has always been outrageously smart but it was never easy to be taken seriously until after he received his degree and began wearing his Phi Theta Kappa sash at parties. John retired long ago from the superhero trade, but in his glory days he once saved the entire solar system from a mad scientist who had been plotting to blow up the sun. She’s in prison now, but John still has her wacky contraption out in his garage, and on some mornings (usually before he’s had his first cup of coffee) he feels an almost irresistible urge to go out there and push the button! Fortunately, his art studio is also in the garage and he’s easily distracted. John paints more than is natural, showing his work internationally at science fiction conventions and locally in galleries, music shops, the Josephine County Fair and the Grants Pass Museum of Art.

Kristina Retzloff
Business Administration, 1977

It’s been a number of years but Kristina has fond memories of the time she spent at RCC, from the teachers to the staff who helped with financial aid. She says going to RCC taught her about computers. Now Kristina says she’s working full time and doing quite well.

Mark Denney
Accounting, 1980 – 1982

Studying with friends in the library between classes is one of Mark’s favorite memories at RCC. Going to RCC allowed Mark to transfer to Oregon State University and earn his degree which has opened many doors for him.
Mark retired as lieutenant colonel from the U.S. Marine Corps after 25 years and is currently Vice President of Administration and Finance for the University of Houston-Clear Lake in Houston, Texas.

Michael Main
Nursing, 1997-1999

Michael can’t remember the name of his favorite instructor at RCC, but he says the education he got at RCC helped him advance his career from CNA to an RN with big change in responsibility, income and knowledge. He’s still working as a nurse.

Natalie (Wood) Schuessler
AAOT, Education, 2008-2010

Natalie thoroughly enjoyed World Literature with Mr. Williams. His excitement with literature was contagious and she ended up taking the whole series. She originally had a degree from a private Christian college and couldn’t transfer many credits to any major college. RCC accepted quite a few credits and helped Natalie on her path to an education degree. She is currently a stay-at-home mom about to have her third child. She was an area manager with Head Start before getting the opportunity to stay home with her kids.

Patrick Secrest
Human Services, 2014-2017

Instructors with experience in the human services field like Manny Pacheco and Peggy Hull provided the educational foundation that Patrick uses every day in his current career. Having amazing instructors that believe in what they are teaching helped Patrick in every aspect of his life. Math instructor Kathy Foster helped him pass math. Patrick appreciates that RCC offers teams of instructors who are involved in the students’ lives. He went on the complete a bachelor’s degree and now works as a drug and alcohol co

David McAllister

David is “doing my own thing now” but he has fond memories of his 3 ½ years at RCC. “I started to work at a diesel shop after the first term. I worked at the shop all the way though school. I kept working there for about two years in the shop, then I drove a few trucks for a few years too. Now I just use for myself. Thank You.”

Deborah (Baker) Miller
Criminal Justice, 1979-1980

Deborah has held several interesting jobs over the years. “While I didn’t go into criminal Justice, I worked in radio, served as PIO for the Lincoln County School District in Newport, Oregon, and I am now a licensed funeral director.” She said taking classes at RCC helped her prepare for the University of Oregon. “RCC gave me a way to get some college credits while living at home and preparing for life. I received my journalism degree from the U of O a term early because of the credits I was able to transfer from RCC. If I had a child, or grandchild, I would highly recommend going to a community college for the basic courses.”

Doris (Fricke) Atherton
GED and AAOT, education focus, 2003-2007

Doris earned her GED as well as an associate degree at RCC. She’s now a fourth-grade teacher in Idaho. “Yvonne Hughes was the BEST math teacher ever! I can’t remember his name, but my science teacher was the most exciting and engaging teacher on the planet. I worked for TRiO SSS for a while and that’s where I learned that I wouldn’t die from speaking in public! Joe Momyer was the most compassionate, caring, patient, wise and giving person I’ve ever met. Not only did he help me with academics, but he also helped with my marriage and myself. I still thank him in my head almost every day!”

Eric Culver
AAOT, 2004-2010

Eric is finishing his bachelor’s degree at Southern Oregon University. “Great instructors made classes easier to pass,” he said. His favorite RCC class was writing with instructor Colin Mills-Cannon.

Paul Spillan Jr
Engineering and Physics, 2014-2017

Paul says it would be impossible to pick one favorite teacher. “Dusty, Doug, Matt, and Annie will always be remembered as some of the most important people during my entire higher education experience. I would have never got my bachelor’s degree without them. With Dusty and my advisor, I vividly remember my first trip to his office before classes started in my first year. His advice was some of the best advising I was ever given. I ended up taking every class Dusty taught. The entire staff and faculty were amazing at RCC and I would even venture to say they were better than most instructors at the school I transferred to.” Paul went on to complete a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering after leaving RCC. “My studies at RCC put me in position to do really well. I was prepared for upper division classes and never felt like I was without the tools I was supposed to have. The work ethic RCC instructors demand is exactly what’s needed to succeed in higher education and a competitive job market.” Paul took a job at an aerospace company and relocated to San Luis Obispo, California, in 2020.

Sarah (Clark) Lowry
Associate of Arts, 2008-2011

Sarah says RCC helped her figure out what I she wanted to do in life. “Upon enrollment, I had no idea what to pursue, but after my very first Shakespeare class, I knew I wanted to be an English teacher,” she recalls. Since her days at RCC, Sarah has earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in English Education and has taught middle school English for the South Umpqua School District for two years. She’s loving every minute of it. “Thank you, RCC, for your part in it!”

Shana Ogle
Pre-nursing, 2001-2004

“My favorite instructor was Gary Gates who made learning Anatomy & Physiology fun and attainable,” Shana recalls. “Gary was a positive and calming influence on all his students. He was always respectful of my little type-A idiosyncrasies like needing to know if I passed an exam right away.” As a first-generation, low-income college student, Shana appreciated that she was able to go to college while staying local. “I was not what you would call ‘academically inclined,’ however, RCC enabled me to build my confidence as a learner. The tools I gained at RCC equipped me to reach my goal of obtaining my master’s degree in nursing in 2015.” Today, Shana works as a professional development specialist at Asante Three Rivers Medical Center. She’s been a nurse with Asante since 2006.

Shane Stafford
General studies/transfer, 2005-2008

Shane says that being part of the RCC theater group led by Bobbi Kidder was key to his maturation as a young adult. “I made valuable friends and explored new ways to express myself. I also loved being part of the library staff,” Shane recalls. “My supervisor Robert Felthousen provided needed mentorship as I navigated early adulthood.” Shane also has fond memories of Rick Williams’ English classes. “He was very understanding of where I came from and helped instill in me confidence that I could eventually graduate university,” Shane recalls. “Going from a poor, broken home in Grants Pass to where I am now does not happen overnight. As the first person in my family to graduate from college, I needed a stepping-stone to the next level, and RCC provided that for me.” Today, Shane works as software developer in New York City making Android apps. He previously worked for 5 years in marketing. 

Sherri Battles
Nursing, 2000 graduate

Sherri Battles says her favorite RCC experience was her externship in the emergency department at Asante. “I got to use all of the skills I learned during school and see real results with patients in the emergency room. This is when all of the studying and hard work started to pay off.” After starting her nursing career in the emergency room, Sherri is now C.O.O. at Southern Oregon Orthopedics. “Happy 50th Birthday RCC! Thank you for the opportunities you bring to our communities.” 

Steve Richardson
Attended RCC in 1991, returned in 1995 after serving in the Army

Prior to attending RCC, Steve had served in the Army but he didn’t have any experience in accounting. “My degree provided the foundation for the necessary skills I needed in my career,” he said. “I used my associate degree to transfer to SOU and eventually graduated in 1999. I was hired by a local accounting firm with a livable wage prior to graduating.” Today, Steve is part owner of an accounting firm in Medford. He’s married to his high school sweetheart of 27 years. “I currently have two children, each in their 20s, graduating from RCC in 2020 and couldn’t be prouder.”

Todd Price
Criminal justice, 1998-2000

“RCC helped me connect with myself and my goals through learning the skills necessary for success. I furthered my education and now own my own institute helping nations in education.” Today, Todd helps developing nations build curriculum and programs as the CEO of Global Counter Terrorism Institute LLC.

Trina Pankowski
Associate of Applied Science Business Technology; attended RCC off and on since ’93, graduated 2018

Trina’s favorite instructors were Mr. Fisher, Mr. Underwood, Dr. Wade. “I liked a lot of my teachers and classes,” she said.

Victoria (Scott) Kay
Nursing prerequisites, 2014-2017

Victoria worked in the RCC Foundation while she was a student. “I was surrounded by hardworking and intelligent ladies that I enjoyed working with,” she recalls. “RCC guided me on my educational journey and helped me accomplish those goals I had for so long.” Victoria is a Certified Medical Assistant and has been working at Asante Physician Partners for over two years. 

Zackary Austin Bango
AAOT-Physics concentration, 2010- 2015

“RCC provided me, at the age of 13, the crazy option to pursue higher education at a nontraditional age while also attending high school,” Zack says. “It’s beyond doubt that without this option, I would’ve ended up in a completely different career and place in life.” His favorite instructors were Matt Haugen for mathematics and Rick Williams for world literature. “Prior to taking classes at RCC, I absolutely hated mathematics,” Zack recalls. “Which was a big problem given my interest in science. Luckily, I was able to complete most of my introductory mathematics classes with Matt, who showed me not only how much fun math can be, but also how essential it is to the everyday functioning of modern society. His creative calculus projects, from finding the volume of an actual physical vase (which we had to figure out ourselves), to finding the height of objects using trigonometry, made me a long-time math enthusiast and propelled me into a computationally dense and exciting career.” Meanwhile, Rick WIlliams “manifests all of the qualities that are necessary to really excite his students about literature. He can make even the most devout STEM students marvel at the complexities and underlying ethos of the classics.” After his completing a biochemistry degree at Oregon State University, Zack went on to work as a molecular biologist/research assistant studying malaria for the University of Pennsylvania-University of Botswana partnership lab in Gaborone, Botswana.