People to meet. Places to go.

August 13, 2016

Recent alumnus credits JCCC for opening doors

It’s safe to say David Moore, a 2015 JCCC graduate, is literally going places. Moore currently is junior sales and business development manager for a tech startup company in Germany. However, Moore’s global adventures and learning began long before he received his associate degree.

“I took a couple of years after high school to figure out what I wanted to do,” said Moore, a 2010 graduate of Shawnee Mission South. “I worked at entry level jobs and just hung out. A couple of years later I thought about the options in front of me. I could continue working at low-paying jobs that are not rewarding. I could join the military, see the world and get college paid for when I was done. Or, right away I could go to JCCC for college classes and still see the world.”

Moore selected option three, and he’s happy with the decision.

“The reputation of JCCC played a big part in my decision,” Moore said. “Other people I knew attended the college and had a great experience. I also knew JCCC was one of the top two-year schools in the country. Then there was the affordable tuition benefit.”

When Moore was making that college decision in 2013, he said he wanted to do something to make a difference for him as well as others.

“I started college super ambitious,” he recalled. “I was driven to make the most of my time at JCCC.”

Moore wasted little time building connections by joining clubs and being involved on campus. He participated in Student Senate, the CEO Club and the International Club. He also networked and connected with fellow students, faculty and staff members.

One door opened; then another

“I felt accepted at JCCC, and I quickly could see my full potential – both academically and personally,” Moore said. “I found myself asking myself how far this could go. One door opened. Then another door opened. I wanted to see what was behind other doors.”

One of the first connections Moore made on campus was with JCCC President Joe Sopcich, who visited a Student Senate meeting early in the first semester Moore came to JCCC. At that meeting, Sopcich made himself available to any Student Senate members who wanted to meet with him. The ambitious new college student decided to take Sopcich up on his offer. In the initial meeting, Moore told the college president about his interests and ambitions. From that meeting, Sopcich introduced Moore to community leaders and elected officials who were interested in knowing more about JCCC students.

“I was very ambitious in wanting to unite students,” Moore said. “I wanted students to come together and connect, no mater their background. I believed everyone could contribute to success of individuals and the college.

“Before too long, I found myself excelling academically and socially,” Moore added. “JCCC might intimidate some because of its reputation as a quality school with rigorous curriculum, but I found it to provide easy access to education … whatever one’s interest.”

Sopcich later invited Moore to share his dreams and interests at the annual JCCC Foundation dinner and the Some Enchanted Evening fundraiser for student scholarships and academic programs.

“What impressed me about David early on was how totally buttoned up and professional he was,” Sopcich said. “I could see it not only in his appearance but also in his mental focus and the vision he had for his future. As they say, you never get a second chance to make a first impression, and in this case, David nailed it. Everyone he met wanted to help him fulfill his dream for success.”

Moore’s story doesn’t end there. With one year of studies and engagement under his belt, Moore was ready to fulfill his desire to travel the world with a steadfast commitment to his college education.

On the road and online

Moore remembered how much he enjoyed one of his earlier classes – a hybrid class that combined online and on-campus learning. He found success with online learning. He now contemplated traveling abroad while taking JCCC online classes. Once again, he challenged himself and asked himself why not.

Moore set his plan in motion.

“I got a passport, bought a backpack, booked a plane ticket to Berlin and enrolled in online classes at JCCC,” he said. “I started my travels in Germany because of security, cost and historical relevance.”

In that year away from JCCC, Moore traveled more than 16,000 miles, visiting cities in the U.S. (Chicago and Dallas to name a few) and countries that included Germany, Panama, Peru and Canada. During the fall and spring classes that Moore traveled abroad and completed online classes, he was proud that his grades improved.

“I was successful because the online class structure worked for me,” he said. “There was minimal stress, it was easy to communicate with my instructors and the online classes allowed me free time to explore and work part-time, too.”

Moore kept in contact with his JCCC counselor while abroad to make sure his online classes met requirements for him to reach his JCCC goal – receive an associate degree. He celebrated this goal when he received a degree in liberal studies with a focus on business administration and communication from our college in May 2015.

Making new connections

Now while living and working in Germany, he’s taking online classes from Fort Hays State University in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree. In his position at InfluencerDB in Germany, Moore works with companies around the world that use Instagram as a significant marketing tool. He connects interested companies with InfluencerDB’s technology – a product that allows corporations access to deep analytical data about their own Instagram channels and their competitors’ channels.

“I think I traveled not just physically but developmentally,” Moore said in looking back at his JCCC online learning and living abroad experience.

“JCCC provided me with the tools to succeed and think outside the box,” Moore added. “The things I accomplished at JCCC opened my mind to new possibilities, gave me confidence to continue to push boundaries and really raised the ceiling in terms of personal limitations.”

Leading an institution that focuses on celebrating students’ success, David’s story and other similar stories make Sopcich feel good.

“Stories like this are the ultimate reward for faculty and staff members at JCCC,” Sopcich said. “These stories reinforce in us why we’re here – to help students succeed.”