Meet some of Everett Community College's students and graduates
Laurie Yoakum was able to start her associate degree at Everett Community College’s East County Campus in Monroe because the campus is close to home. By working part-time, she can attend school part-time. It’s not easy keeping up with work and school - or getting enough sleep - but she says the people at the East County Campus are really helpful, and that’s one reason she recommends the campus to her friends.
Ian Hull took all of the classes for his transfer degree at EvCC's East County Campus, which was close to home, saved money, and laid the foundation for his university level classes and his future career. He benefited from the small campus where he was close to his instructors. Now, he's working towards a bachelor's degree in accounting at Western Washington University. His advice for new students: "Live the college experience, go out, have fun, meet people, live in the now, and don’t forget to do your homework."
*This Student Spotlight is about EvCC's Spanish-language Cosmetology program and is entirely in Spanish.
Alejandra Martínez dice que siempre le gustó el estudio. En su natal México logro estudiar música pero las limitaciones económicas hicieron que buscara oportunidades de trabajo en Estados Unidos. Tras años de luchar para estudiar finalmente logró entrar al programa de Cosmetología en español de EvCC. Alejandra dice estar agradecida por lo que el programa ofrece, “Escogí Everett Community College porque el programa es en español y pues es mi idioma. Y segundo lugar también lo escogí porque hay mucho apoyo.”
Ritter Kinsella's fascination with aerospace inspired him to take classes through EvCC's Advanced Manufacturing Training and Education Center. After graduation and an internship at Boeing, Ritter was hired by Lockheed Martin to develop and implement new designs for spacecraft and satellites for the U.S. Navy and NASA. "I attribute my success to not only my hard work and dedication but also to my classes and to my instructors," he says. "It's because of all of this that I am successful."
Growing up in Brazil, International Student Paulo Mendes’ biggest dream was to play professional soccer. “But in Brazil,” Paulo says, “in order to do that you have to quit school, and my family did not want me to quit.” So, Paulo decided to pursue an education in the United States instead. He chose EvCC to pursue his AAS in Physical Therapy partly because of its location, but there was more to it than just that. “The atmosphere at Everett is just different,” he says. “All the interactions I had on my first day with both students and staff were just special. At Everett, people will care for you and respect you despite where you come from, how old are you, what you identify as or what religion you follow or not follow, and I wanted to be part of this.”
After hearing about EvCC’s Aviation Maintenance Technician program, Dremond “Dre” Stidwell moved all the way from Atlanta, GA to attend. “I chose Everett Community College because it's a great atmosphere, great learning environment for number one, and they had availabilities for the classes,” Dre says. “I tried a couple of different programs in the south but they were backed up for a year, maybe two years, so I heard about the program out here, I ended up moving out here for the program and it opened up doors for me.” When he completes his A&P license (Airframe & Powerplant Test Prep Program) Dre plans to work in the commercial industry for a while. “These skills will help me reach my professional goals in terms that I'll always have work,” he says. “The industry is steadily growing and also it will help me grow my business in the future.”
Sreynet Long’s long journey from Cambodia didn’t end when she arrived in the United States. In fact, it was only just beginning. “My English proficiency was very poor when I first moved to the U.S.” says Sreynet, “so I made a decision to enroll in ESL classes (at EvCC).” And she didn’t stop there. Sreynet worked her way through the ESL program and took advantage of help offered through EvCC’s BRIDGES Center and the TRiO Student Support Services to pursue her dream of becoming a nurse. That hard work has paid off. “I will start the nursing program at EvCC in fall (quarter) 2017,” she said. “With the ESL and the academic and emotional support from the BRIDGES and TRiO programs, I was able to propel myself into the nursing program. They have helped me find a career path, and they believe in me.”
Malaysian student Aiman Azhan chose Everett Community College for its location and small classes. His two years were a wonderful experience - in fact, attending EvCC was the best decision he's made, Aiman said. Outside the classroom, his coworkers in EvCC's Business and Applied Technology Division became like family. He even graduated alongside his supervisor. Aiman is now pursuing his bachelor's degree in finance at Arizona State University's W.P. Carey School of Business. "Believe me, college is way more fun than what you think," he said.
Jeremy Allen learned about the manufacturing process from start to finish at EvCC's Advanced Manufacturing Training & Education Center (AMTEC), which serves more than 200 manufacturing industry employers in Snohomish County. "I chose EvCC not only because of the high reviews online and the close proximity to my place of residence, but also because the faculty had industry experience in the field that I chose to study," he said.
Kyla Ruse was the first in her family to attend college. At Everett Community College, TRiO adviser Linda Summers and the TRiO program made being a first-generation college student less scary and more rewarding. She hopes to one day earn a master's of science degree in nutrition, inspired by nutrition instructor Karen Gabrielsen. Today, Kyla is proud of her choices. "Going to a community college does not mean you aren't smart enough for a university," she says. "Many, many people, including myself, turned down university acceptance to attend EvCC. You save money and get a truly amazing education."
Jasmine Chigbrow didn't think she'd graduate from high school, let alone college. When she dropped out, she had a 1.5 GPA. At EvCC, she earned her high school diploma through the college's Youth Re-Engagement (U3) program and her associate degree with a 4.0. After finishing her bachelor's degree at Western Washington University, where she was a graduation speaker in March 2017, she's headed to law school. Find out how U3 helped Jasmine discover her passion for learning.
An aspiring motivational speaker and entrepreneur, Rilee Louangphakdy never dreamed he would accomplish one of his dreams – to speak at a TED Talk – while still in college. Rilee was accepted to several universities but chose to attend Everett Community College first so he could "save an insane amount of money" and get a great education close to family. Sharing his story of overcoming depression after the loss of a beloved family member, he has spoken at YMCA and TEDx events. Rilee encourages students to expand their circles by meeting new people. That's how he connected with four EvCC instructors who have mentored him.
After 20 years working as an electrician, an on-the-job shoulder injury made it necessary for Sean Nichols to seek a new line of work. He turned to AMTEC at EvCC for retraining. "I went into Precision Machining because it actually interested me" says Sean, "and then, after I was in the program for a while, they started the Mechatronics program." Sean, who recently graduated with an ATA in Advanced Manufacturing and will graduate with an ATA in Mechatronics this Spring, was offered and accepted a job at Advantage Manufacturing Technologies in Monroe as an Industrial Machine Maintenance Technician. Out of his interviews at five or six different companies, AMT was his top choice for companies.
Monroe resident Athena Harper took all the classes she needed for her university transfer degree at the East County Campus - without leaving her hometown. Not only were her classes five minutes from home, she also benefitted from the encouraging, helpful and personable faculty and staff members who helped her succeed. She's on her way to finish her bachelor's degree at Western Washington University. "My advice would be to not be afraid to reach out to teachers/staff for help because they really are there to help you succeed, and genuinely care about their students!" Athena says. "I have experienced it for myself firsthand."
Everett Community College student Hilda Pacheco says that she’s always had a love for math and science but it wasn’t until she was introduced to EvCC’s STEM Bridge program that she truly envisioned becoming an engineer. While in high school she joined STEM and earned college credit and now Pacheco says that the program had an additional purpose for her, "It helped me realize that as a Hispanic woman, I could become an engineer.” She’s currently working on completing her associate degree and plans to transfer to a four-year university.
The biggest challenge facing Simerjit Kaur after coming to the United States was her English speaking skills. "When you understand everything, but you cannot explain your thoughts and ideas" says Simerjit, "it is discouraging and embarrassing when you cannot express yourself well." Then Simerjit found The BRIDGES Center. "BRIDGES helps me a lot" she says, "to improve my English speaking, writing and reading. BRIDGES has been a key resource supporting me on my journey." Now enrolled in EvCC's Medical Assistant program, Simerjit still takes advantage of what BRIDGES has to offer. "BRIDGES provides free workshops every quarter, and anyone can join" she says. "BRIDGES has great tutors and resources."
Hailing from the Big Island of Hawaii, Richelle Pidong is often asked what compelled her to come to Everett, Washington. “I get a lot of ‘why did you leave paradise to come here?’” says Richelle. “It’s always been one of my goals to attend school on the mainland and to become more independent. Moving here alone and attending EvCC has allowed me to do that.” A Resident Assistant at EvCC’s Mountain View Hall, Richelle is pursuing her Associate Degree in Human Services. “My aspiration in life is to help people and make a difference. There isn’t a better degree fit to achieve that goal.”
After moving to the United States from India in 2008, Bhumika Harpal wanted to pursue a quality education. "After doing a comparative analysis among a few local colleges," says Bhumika, "I decided to join EvCC based on transfer class credits, professor profiles, the beautiful campus and the tuition and fees structure." Bhumika is studying nursing and hopes to work full-time in a hospital environment after graduating from EvCC. "I think my main source of inspiration to become a nurse comes from an innate desire to help people and care for them in times of need.
After serving in the U.S. Air Force, Shane Johnson wanted to get a job, earn a college degree and live close to his family. He was happy to discover he could do all three in east Snohomish County at EvCC's East County Campus. Shane, now the owner and general manager at Thrive Community Fitness in Monroe, said the classes he has taken toward a degree in business administration are a big part of the reason he was promoted. Now he's giving back to his community, organizing an event at Thrive that helped more than 65 people experiencing homelessness in Monroe. His advice for students: "Work as hard as humanly possible. If you want something bad enough put in the work, real work."
Positive reviews from her friends sent Elizabeth Ratzlaff to Everett Community College, where she found an impressive campus and helpful staff. She wanted to pursue an Early Childhood Education degree and knew that EvCC has a great program. Upon graduating in 2016, she had this advice for students: "Enjoy this time in your life and get to know the people around you. You never know how you may impact them, or how they might just impact you." She started her career as an assistant teacher at EvCC's Early Learning Center.
Alyssa Jackson decided to attend EvCC's East Couny Campus for three simple reasons: "Location, location, location!" says Jackson. "In addition to the convenient location, East County Campus offered all the classes I needed to complete the one-year certificate as well as the Associate in Technical Arts degree in Business Administration." Armed with her ATA in Business Administration, Jackson will next be pursuing her Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Information Technology and Administrative Management (ITAM) online through Central Washington University. "Completing my ATA in Business Administration at EvCC set me up for continued success for CWU’s online ITAM program. So even though I’ve graduated from EvCC, I will continue to be a part of this excellent college by way of their University Center. "
Ho Tin Li
Like his sister before him, Ho Tin Li dreamed of coming to the U.S. to study abroad. He chose EvCC not only because it was highly recommended to him by his agency, but because of its desirable location and the fact that he could finish his high school diploma while studying Aerospace Engineering at the college level. Now he’s taking what he’s learned at EvCC to the University of California in Los Angeles where he’ll pursue his Bachelor’s in Aerospace Engineering. “I took so many classes and I really admire the instructors who had taught me” says Ho Tin. “All the teachers I met are undoubtedly intelligent and passionate about teaching. Not only did they teach me new things, but they had also showed me the right ways to study.
As a recent EvCC graduate with an Associate Degree in Physical Education, Alfredo Diaz-Rodriguez plans on gaining work experience before continuing his education at a four-year school. An active member of M.E.C.H.A (Movimiento Estudiantil Chican@ de Aztlan), Alfredo credits the strong connections he made through his involvement with campus clubs and his ties to EvCC's Diversity & Equity Center. "My family at the Diversity & Equity Center helped me to grow into the person I am today" he says. "They helped me to open up more and to discover what I truly wanted ;to do in my life and what I care for." He also knows he couldn't have done it without the support of his family. "My family encouraged and supported me to finish EvCC and to finish my education no matter what. Whether I go far or stay close, they'll be happy for what I'm doing, and I know I have their support."
Lea la historia de Alfredo en español.
After seeing her name in the pages of a newspaper early in her college career, Samantha Chapman knew she had caught the journalism bug. “I was a published writer within my second quarter of college”, says Chapman, “and that’s more than I had expected." Samantha worked her way up from staff reporter to eventually Editor-in-Chief of EvCC’s award-winning newspaper, The Clipper. Now she’s taking her talents to Washington State University North Puget Sound, where she’ll study Integrated Strategic Communications, right here on the Everett Community College campus. “Community College should not be taken for granted” she says. “If you want to be really good at something, EvCC has the tools and knowledge to get you there.”
Venise Williams calls EvCC's Diversity & Equity Center's staff her "family away from home." The medical coding grad says the support she found there helped her continue her education. "It was because I surrounded myself with people who wanted me to succeed that I was able to graduate with honors" she says. Venise became actively involved on campus, joining student clubs like the Black Student Union and becoming a regular in the Diversity and Equity Center. "The staff there are the best," says Venise. "They even took time out of the busy schedule to offer words of wisdom to my son, my brother and myself. They were my family away from home."
Anthony J. Ansay
After immigrating to the United States, Anthony Ansay wanted to find a small community of students that would help him adapt to his new environment. He found that at EvCC. Now he's finished his Business DTA at EvCC, Anthony plans to move to Bellingham and complete his business degree at Western Washington University. He believes that by being involved in the community at EvCC through Student LIFE and other campus activities, he grew not only as a student, but as a person as well. "It was when I took a chance and submitted a student leader job application and got involved that I was able to meet new people and grow as a person" he says.
Hannah Jean Pennock
Recent graduate and U.S. Army Veteran Hannah Pennock chose EvCC because she "heard nothing but great things" about the college. It also didn't hurt that it was so close to home. "I love how beautiful the campus is," says Hannah. "I've always wanted to thank the landscapers for maintaining the school grounds and keeping it so beautiful." Now that she's earned her Direct Transfer Degree from EvCC, Hannah plans on pursuing her bachelor's degree in Human Services from Western Washington University right here on campus at University Center.
Everett Community College student Eduardo Mendoza is living proof that, with the right mindset, nothing in life is impossible. Originally diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, Eddy has a condition that doctors can’t quite put their finger on. “They told me ‘we know where your problem is but we don’t know what kind of condition you have’” he said. “They wanted to call it the Eduardo Mendoza Disease, but I was like ‘uh-uh, uh-uh, no.’” Eddy started attending classes at EvCC to earn his Associate Degree and hopes to transfer to Central Washington University to pursue a degree in education. He hopes his story will inspire others who face adversity to never give up. “Everett Community College is like a community” says Eddy. “You gotta go out there and try it for yourself. You never know what the outcome will be.”
Jaime Osuna Cardenas
Jaime Osuna Cardenas travelled from Sinaloa, Mexico to earn a degree and play baseball at Everett Community College. He chose EvCC "not just for the academic business options and diversity it offers, but also their athletics opportunities and atmosphere, as well as their beautiful campus," he said. His teammates and coaches helped him practice his second language and adapt to the culture. "The baseball team has become like a family to me," he said. Jaime will soon earn his associates degree in business and plans to transfer to a four-year school.
Lea la historia de Jaime en español.
As a young boy growing up in Vietnam, Kien Bui dreamed of coming to the United States to pursue a his education. “I chose Everett Community College”, says Kien, “because the instructors and staff are extremely friendly and are experts in their field. Also, the class size is pretty small, which benefits International students by giving them more chances to actively interact and communicate with instructors.” Kien’s dream is quickly becoming reality as he’s not only earned his Associate Degree in Business Administration from EvCC, but has recently been accepted to the Foster School of Business at the University of Washington, one of the top business schools in the country. “The fortune to partake in the business program at EvCC has been a life-changing experience for me” Kien says. “Everett Community College is like a second family to me.”
Read Kien's story in Vietnamese
International student Felix Prabowo came to the United States from Indonesia with the same hopes and dreams shared by many who come to this country; to pursue a quality education that will lead to a promising future. Prabowo, an International Student Ambassador and PROPELS Mentor, is pursuing an Associate in Business degree and hopes to continue his education by transferring to a four-year institution. “I think EvCC is a great place for me to start my academic career” says Felix. “To save some costs associated with studying overseas, I chose to start my undergraduate career by doing a two-year associate transfer degree (at EvCC).”
Everett Community College nursing student David Swale chose EvCC for two reasons: location and reputation. Working as an EMT (emergency medical technician) for nine years, David had the opportunity to talk with many professional nurses in the area. "Just asking the nurses at different hospitals about what programs they would recommend," he says, "I actually had a few of them say 'Everett Community College is a great program, their nurses are very prepared and they're ready to hit the ground running on day one.'" After finishing the program, David plans to continue his education right here on campus, through the University of Washington-Bothell's Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at Everett University Center. "It's great" David says, "because the way they have it scheduled out, it's an eight-hour class, one day a week, and so you get to still be a nurse while going to school."
After arriving in the United States from Honduras in 2014, Monica Fonseca set her sights on pursuing a higher education. She chose EvCC because she “really liked the atmosphere of the college” and felt the variety of classes offered fit well with her educational and professional goals. Highly involved with campus activities, Monica is a student leader with Student LIFE, acts as a student ambassador and is serving as Vice President of the new Latino Student Union. A talented artist, Monica plans to transfer to a university with a strong Industrial Design program after completing her Associate in Arts and Sciences - DTA degree at EvCC.
Vea la historia de Mónica en español
U.S. Navy veteran Geoffrey Lewis found support and guidance at EvCC's Veterans Resource Center, saying staff there helped him with forms and guidance throughout his time at EvCC. "They reminded me of my days back in the fleet when one person would have a problem or a question and there was always a person or two who could provide some sort of advice," he said.
After graduating high school in 2010, Daniel Parrish selected EvCC for its well-established engineering department and flexible schedule. Four years later, he was accepted to the University of Washington, where he joined with two partners to create a start-up company, JikoPower. The team recently won over $22,000 from two competitions for the creation of a revolutionary portable thermoelectric generator, a technology that promises to transform communities in developing nations. “Without a doubt, EvCC made me who I am today,” says Daniel.
Demri M. Lewis
Demri Lewis' interest in manufacturing started early. As a kid, she enjoyed visiting her grandfather's machine shop. “He would show me what was what and what these cool, big machines were and so what I learned from him is manufacturing is building something useful out of something that isn’t necessarily useful, and I really like that.” Demri, an advanced manufacturing student, says that the skills she has learned and the help she has received from her instructors at EvCC have set her up for a successful career in manufacturing. “If you want to go into the manufacturing field," says Demri, "this is a great place to start. They teach you everything you need to know.”
Cecilia Arevalo-Arroyo chose Everett Community College because EvCC is affordable, close to home, and has a criminal justice program. The future police detective says she got a "well-rounded education" at EvCC. "All my professors really helped me recognize my potential," she said. The 2015 grad enjoyed student life at EvCC too. "I also thank EvCC for welcoming me into such a nice community where students are allowed to speak their mind and make changes."
When asked who has helped him succeed at Everett Community College, 2015-16 Associated Student Body President Azrael Howell names more than 20 people. This diverse list shows his connections across the entire college, the result of his commitment to helping people through student leadership. One of the things he tells new students in the mentorship program he started is to get involved. “In order to succeed you have to get involved,” he says. “It gives you the ability to network with people in order to find resources to help you succeed. One of the greatest things that I learned from attending this college is that your voice matters at EvCC.”
Raquel Viviana Diaz-Rodriguez
Raquel Diaz-Rodriguez earned college credit while she was still in high school through Everett Community College’s Running Start program. She graduated with her high school diploma and Associate in Arts & Science degree at the same time, tuition free. Her advice to new students: "If you ever feel lost or are unsure about something, don’t be afraid to ask questions. There are several resources on campus and staff who are more than happy to help you and answer your questions."
Lea la historia de Raquel en español.
Everett Community College graduate Amber Lindamood knows the statistic: Only 20 percent of kids who grew up in foster care go to college. She succeeded at EvCC with support from faculty who “made me feel like we were on a team together.” At EvCC, the average class has 26 students, and faculty care about their students’ futures. Amber graduated from EvCC’s Honors program and will transfer to Western Washington University to earn a degree in human services. “EvCC got me ready for the next step,” she said.