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March 26, 2024

JCCC Triple-Degree Earner Toby Brown Set to Graduate

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Toby Brown’s 8-year-old self answered, “I want to be a medical doctor.”

The idea of studying medicine was more than a dream for Toby — it was her academic aim, her tomorrow, her opportunity to contribute. Along life’s way, she encountered “well-meaning” people who made some bleak predictions for her future. They didn’t realize her will was far stronger than the nonchalant comments that were intended to “protect her from disappointment” or undermine her determination.

Today, at 39, Toby is a JCCC Foundation scholarship recipient who is on track to earn three degrees in May 2024. Ignoring all doubters, she is on her way to becoming a medical doctor and a contributor to our community’s health and mental well-being. With 55 JCCC credit hours that have culminated in three degrees — Associate of Science, Associate of Arts, and Associate of General Studies — she is transferring to the University of Kansas as she works to complete dual Bachelor of Science degrees in biology and psychology.

Naysayers lit a desire and fire

Thanks to the generous contributions of JCCC Foundation donors, the negative vibes projected toward Toby have been shattered. The comments from her second-grade teacher— who told her becoming a medical doctor would be “unlikely” for a person like her — only spurred her determination.

Another comment seared into Toby’s essence is one that addressed financial barriers she would likely encounter.

“A couple treated me to dinner when I was a teenager. They smiled, looked at one another and laughed a little when I told them my academic plans,” she said.

They went on to “carefully explain” that Toby would not be able to become a medical doctor because her mother didn’t have enough money and that it takes a person of significant intelligence to accomplish that goal.

These comments made Toby even more focused. 

Be a contributor

In addition to committing 56 hours a week to her academic work, Toby has two sons. One is currently studying to become a radiologist, and her 3-year-old “is in college” at Hiersteiner Child Development Center, thanks to contributions of JCCC Foundation donors.

“The odds, the statistics, the naysayers may have all been, what do they say, ‘stacked against me’ but when you have an individual who is self-determined, willing to keep their eyes on the goal despite the rest, along with the accompaniment of contributors who are willing to take the risk of offering financial resources to a student like me ...” Toby said. “Then another contributor is created.”

Toby said she has always had an internal, endless desire to contribute. “Once I’m a medical doctor, I will have a chance to give back to the community that gave so much to me.”

Pursue your dream and help others

Be like Toby. “I look forward to contributing to the students who like me are not afraid to keep trying, work harder, and win the war against all the negative,” she said.

Realize your goals are possible with the help of JCCC. Look into one of the 100 degree and certificate career programs that could change your life.

Make a donation to the JCCC Foundation and help lift the financial barriers of students who want to make a difference.

Generosity and tenacity are effective partners.