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JCCC Stories

Forever a Cavalier: JCCC helps students be career ready

September 9, 2018


Five students excel in impactful careers after JCCC

Lisa Heishman

Since 1969, Johnson County Community College has provided affordable, top-notch educational experiences to thousands of students. During this time, Cavaliers have shared their talents, determination and perseverance with us — now we want to share their successes with you. 

These five former students pursued separate degrees, but one common thread connects them: JCCC. The College provided them with the skills necessary to succeed in the classroom and in their careers.

Erika Garcia-Reyes

While attending JCCC, Erika Garcia-Reyes filled many roles both on and off campus, including student, Cav Leader and single mother. Although she experienced the challenges associated with balancing school, work and life, Garcia-Reyes knew she could count on JCCC for support.

“The professors were very approachable and helped me lose fear of asking for additional help or for special accommodations when needed,” said Garcia-Reyes. “It really set the foundation for how I saw the world and how much I could achieve even through my circumstances.”

Garcia-Reyes’ commitment culminated in three degrees: an associate degree from JCCC, a bachelor’s degree in public administration and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Kansas.

Today, she is just as determined to change the world as she was to reach her educational goals. Garcia-Reyes is the data manager for KC Degrees, a program that helps adults in the region return and complete their degrees.

According Garcia-Reyes, JCCC was instrumental to this future career. “Working in JCCC’s Admissions office made it clear what my passion was, and where my career was headed. I loved meeting prospective students and their families, learning their stories, and helping them up to their first day of classes.”

Lisa Heishman

According to Lisa Heishman, a resource development team member at Kansas City, Missouri Parks and Recreation, “There is no question that my time at JCCC set the stage for me to be a lifelong leader.”

Heishman attended JCCC from 2006 to 2008. During this time, she served as a Cav Leader, gaining invaluable job skills and learning the importance of campus involvement. She also discovered the value of exploring different academic programs before ultimately majoring in communications.

“JCCC allowed me to discover different career options and change my mind as I went along,” said Heishman. “Getting the foundational courses under my belt before transferring to a university also allowed me the financial freedom to choose a higher quality education that I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to afford for all five years.”

Nathan Henry

Nathan Henry serves as an aircraft systems modeling software engineer at TRU Simulation + Training. In layman’s terms, he writes code to emulate the physics of aircraft systems on pilot-training simulators.

Henry’s passion for engineering took off at JCCC, where he completed many core classes before transferring to Kansas State University in 2009. He says, “My classes at JCCC built a strong physics background that propelled me through the rest of my engineering education.”

During his time on campus, Henry was a Cav Leader. He credits this on-campus job with helping him explore his strengths and decide on his future career.

Michael Luchen

Michael Luchen appreciated his time at JCCC, explaining that the College helped him discover his professional self. “Due to JCCC’s environment, culture and staff, I was able to begin a path to academic and professional success. The small class sizes and well-designed campus were a plus that helped guide this.”

While at JCCC, Luchen focused on growing his leadership skills. His involvement as a Cav Leader and his completion of the Cavalier Leadership Development Program fueled his success when he transferred to KU and later transitioned to the working world.

Today, Luchen is a senior project manager at Crema, a growing tech and innovation agency specializing in the design, programming and go-to-market strategy for web and mobile applications. In his role, he puts his leadership skills to work, managing projects from start to finish.

To sum up his time on campus, Luchen affirms, “The value of the JCCC professors and faculty cannot be underestimated. In tandem with JCCC’s environment, they take a sincere interest and investment in the students.”

Kyle Schlicht

Have you shopped at a Costco recently? If so, Kyle Schlicht, a civil engineer at BlueScope Buildings, might have played a key role in that very store’s creation. After all, this former student has designed every Costco constructed in North America over the past three years!

Schlicht’s journey to success started in high school when he participated in JCCC’s College Now program.

“As a student at JCCC I was able to take all of the general education classes KU required for an engineering degree,” said Schlicht. “Between the hours I accumulated in high school through JCCC’s College Now program and from my three semesters at JCCC, I had approximately 60 credit hours by the time I started my sophomore year at KU. This allowed me to focus full-time on my engineering research classes without the hassle of taking general education classes at the same time.”

Schlicht said his time at JCCC taught him time-management skills, among other lessons.

“In high school, it was easy to balance the small workload, but once I became a full-time student at JCCC, I quickly learned that I needed to be much more responsible and proactive with my priorities.”

Make JCCC your next adventure

These students embody the outstanding talent we have at JCCC. Want to be our next success story?