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July 8, 2018

From the student perspective: Alumna Angela Wright explains how her involvement at JCCC laid the groundwork for her future endeavors.

With my time at Johnson County Community College ending and a new adventure at the University of Kansas on the horizon, I’m filled with anticipation and excitement for the next chapter in my educational story. As I prepare to transition from a Cavalier to a Jayhawk, I can’t help but reflect on all I gained at JCCC. The opportunities I had here have morphed me into a much more mature, well-rounded and confident person.

Exceeded expectations

In August 2016, as an unsure 18-year-old, I enrolled in my first full-time college classes. My decision to attend JCCC was mostly based on the College’s affordability and proximity to my home. As a Johnson County resident, I thought I already knew everything about JCCC. After walking through the Carlsen Center doors on my first day, I quickly learned it is so much more than a convenient and reasonably-priced college. Through my involvement on campus, I discovered an atmosphere that cultivated my interests and allowed me to grow personally and academically.

InterVarsity Christian Fellowship is one example of this atmosphere. I bonded with others through faith and made great friends at Bible studies and fellowship activities. A big part of why I enjoyed my time at JCCC was due to my involvement in campus groups like this.

Academics and opportunities

I put my best effort into all of my academic endeavors and found that the faculty and staff were just as invested in my success. Their support and my work ethic paid off when I was selected for Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society (PTK) and later graduated as a Dean’s List candidate.

PTK is specifically for two-year colleges. The organization’s core values are academic success and community service – both of which I strive to achieve. While at JCCC, I maintained my grades and participated in countless service activities, including two out-of-state projects. I volunteered at the St. Jude Marathon in Memphis, Tennessee, and traveled to Lincoln, Nebraska, to attend the Phi Theta Kappa Kansas-Nebraska Regional Convention. I have always had a heart for serving, and PTK provided opportunities to give back while making friends and memories. My experiences with PTK have inspired me to continue volunteering in the future.

Inspiration to achieve

My Composition II teacher, Leanna Brunner, encouraged me to apply for a job at the JCCC Writing Center. At first, I did not feel confident enough in my writing abilities to succeed as a tutor. I couldn’t see the potential Professor Brunner saw in me. However, tutoring in the Writing Center has turned out to be my all-time favorite job.

My Writing Center supervisor, Kathryn Byrne, taught me to use my love of writing to help others. Professor Byrne's mentorship boosted my confidence both personally and professionally. When I felt inadequate, she reminded me that mistakes, both on and off the job, are learning moments. While working at the Writing Center, I formed friendships with co-workers, helped my peers, and even earned a level 1 College Reading and Language Association (CRLA) certification. This positive experience inspired me to continue tutoring at the KU Writing Center this fall.

Helpful faculty and resources

JCCC’s scholarships made my educational ambitions a reality.

A PTK chapter advisor introduced me to the Jana Pinker Scholarship, which helped fund my final semester at JCCC.

My News Writing and Reporting professor, Mark Raduziner, also directed me to an important Journalism Department scholarship – the Rose Family Scholarship, which will apply to my next steps at KU.

With additional guidance from Professor Raduziner, I secured an internship in the College’s Marketing Communications department. This internship was relevant to my goals, taught me valuable skills, and even gave me the opportunity to write this story! My experience will directly relate to a future career in strategic communications.

A new story: yours!

Two years and one Associate of Arts degree later, I can assure anyone that JCCC is a great investment. I will take what I learned here and carry it with me always. This journey was truly a blessing, full of unique opportunities and cherished memories. I hope my story will inspire you to write your own.