Community College Success Stories

We'd love to hear your story, too! If you’re a current employee of the Contra Costa Community College District, click here to submit your community college experience.

Joy EichnerLynch, Ph.D.

Professor, English

Contra Costa College

Glendale Community College, Glendale, CA

I wanted a solid education that cost little, since I didn't have enough money for a four year commitment to a university. I was familiar with communi...

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Catherine Frost

Director, Admission & Records

Contra Costa College

Solano College, Fairfield, CA

I was an employee at Solano College with great aspirations to move ahead. I loved my work, but knew that I could only advance with a degree so I retu...

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Linda Johnson

Office Assistant

Contra Costa College

Alumna, Diablo Valley College

When I first arrived at Diablo Valley College (DVC), I was scared, insecure and lost in an environment that was so different from anything I had ever ...

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Peter Lock

Professor, Automotive Technology

Contra Costa College

Contra Costa College, San Pablo, CA

When I came to Contra Costa College (CCC) it was mainly to do something after high school. Many of my friends that went to my high school came to CCC ...

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Carla Matute

Assessment Center Technician

Contra Costa College

Contra Costa College, San Pablo, CA

I can speak from a foreign student point of view. Arriving from a foreign country, encountering a new culture, new society, new systems, new tongue, ...

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Aminta Mickles

Professor, Health and Human Services

Contra Costa College

Contra Costa College, San Pablo, CA

My mother attended Contra Costa College (CCC) late in life and received her culinary certificates and went right to work. She’s been working for over...

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Monica Rodriguez

Supervisor, Financial Aid

Contra Costa College

Reedley College, Reedley, CA

Born to a teenage mother in a rural town in "the middle of nowhere," going to college was not something that my family talked about. As a young girl, ...

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Pamela Rudy

Professor, Computer Information Systems & Business Office Technology

Contra Costa College

Contra Costa College, San Pablo, CA

Eighteen years after graduating from Contra Costa College (CCC), I attended a private 4-year university. I came to appreciate even more the faculty th...

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Gabriela Segade

Professor, English as a Second Language

Contra Costa College

Alumna, Kapi'olani Community College, Hawaii

I had heard I didn't need a TOEFL score or transcripts to go to a community college, and it was more affordable than the University of Hawaii. I val...

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Katherine Becvar

Adjunct Reference Librarian

Diablo Valley College

Alumna, Cuyamaca College & Grossmont College, El Cajon, CA

When I started at Cuyamaca, I had only a vague idea of what I wanted to major in and what 4-year college I wanted to go to. Two years at community co...

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Bethallyn Black

Adjunct Professor, Horticulture

Diablo Valley College

Alumna, Diablo Valley College, Pleasant Hill, CA; Laney College & Merritt, College, Oakland, CA

My first experience with community college was when I came back from working in Europe for three years after high school. The first time to complete ...

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Tess Brandt

Adjunct Professor, English

Diablo Valley College

Alumna, American River College, Sacramento, CA

My father didn’t want me to go to college. It’s not that he wanted me to fail. He just didn’t understand the value of a higher education. He couldn...

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Victoria Day, DDS

Professor/Supervising Dentist, Dental Hygiene Program

Diablo Valley College

Alumna, Hartnell College, Salinas, CA

I came from a family with no college background, so there was not much guidance other than my public high school where I was put in a "university boun...

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Maria Dorado

Counseling Faculty

Diablo Valley College

Alumna, Diablo Valley College

I came to DVC without a plan or a goal. It was through Lupe Dannels that I was able to learn how to become a college students and transfer to a 4 year...

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Ray Faulkenberry, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Psychology

Diablo Valley College

Los Medanos College, Pittsburg, CA

I was not sure of what to do when I graduated high school. Most of my friends had gone off to school with a great idea of what they were going to stu...

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Ray Gilmore

Professor, Business

Diablo Valley College

City College of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA & Atlantic Cape Community College, Mays Landing, New Jersey

I was admitted to UC Berkeley in fall 1963 in Engineering. My Dad's income as an elevator constructor made me ineligible for State scholarships, even ...

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Marisa Greenberg

Administrative Secretary

Diablo Valley College

Contra Costa College, San Pablo, CA

As a student-athlete in high school, my grades were always "just good enough" to be eligible, and like many student-athletes, I thought that sports wo...

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Nancy Harvey

Scheduling Specialist

Diablo Valley College

Diablo Valley College, Pleasant Hill, CA

I came to Diablo Valley College (DVC) after completing one semester at Brigham Young University (BYU), Provo, Utah. I was young and not happy with the...

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Alicia Huntley

Senior Library Assistant

Diablo Valley College

Contra Costa College, San Pablo, CA & Diablo Valley College, Pleasant Hill, CA

I graduated from high school and a week later began classes at Contra Costa College (CCC) in the Dental Assisting Program. I landed a wonderful job w...

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Katrina Keating

Professor of Mathematics

Diablo Valley College

Laney College, Oakland, CA

I enrolled at Laney with no idea what I wanted to do. My very first semester I had cultural anthropology. It was challenging, intriguing, and fascinat...

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Jennifer O'Neal

Adjunct Professor, Psychology

Diablo Valley College

Las Positas College, Livermore, CA

I knew from the youngest of age I wanted to be a teacher! I wanted to make a difference in people's lives and share my passion for education and lifel...

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Troy Ricard

Lead Grounds Worker/Gardener

Diablo Valley College

Diablo Valley College, Pleasant Hill, CA

I started working at Diablo Valley College (DVC) as a trainee gardener. I began rising through the ranks and finally decided to take the "Introductio...

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Cameron Teichgraeber

Assistant Professor, Physics

Diablo Valley College

Riverside Community College, Riverside, CA

My college counseling in high school did not push me to research colleges and prepare for applications. My high school did have was a strong set of co...

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Rachel Westlake

Vice President of Instruction

Diablo Valley College

City College of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA

After high school, I spent five years pursuing a career as a professional ballet dancer. At the end of that time, I make the decision to end that car...

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Gloria Zarabozo

Academic & Student Services Manager, International Student Services

Diablo Valley College

Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA and Merritt College, Oakland, CA

I am a huge fan of the California community college system without it I would have never been able to go to Berkeley where I got both my B.A. and M.A....

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Ben Azarnoush

Design Director

District Office

Alumnus, Diablo Valley College, Pleasant Hill, CA

In 1995, ten years after completing my master degree in architect and urban design, I attended a few landscaping courses at Diablo Valley College to l...

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Jan Boulingui

Staff Assistant, Human Resources

District Office

Alumna, Diablo Valley College, Pleasant Hill, CA

Diablo Valley College provided me with the education I needed to achieve my educational goals. Although I did not receive an A.A. degree, I received a...

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John Cook

Buyer

District Office

Alumnus, Diablo Valley College, Pleasant Hill, CA

While I did not obtain a degree or certificate from Diablo Valley College (DVC), the best class I ever took was Personal Money Management with Ray Gil...

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Krista Ducharme

Accounting Services Supervisor

District Office

Alumna, Diablo Valley College, Pleasant Hill, CA & Napa Valley College, Napa, CA

I had no desire to move away to go to a 4-year college and wasn't sure what degree to pursue. Community college was a perfect choice for me. I was aca...

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Pamela Edmonston

Senior Programmer-Analyst

District Office

El Camino College

Although I did not graduate from a community college, the California community college and university system put me on my current career path. I gradu...

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Nina Eusebio

Senior Database Administrator

District Office

City College of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA

I didn’t go to any of our colleges, but I did take a few courses at City College of San Francisco (CCSF) before I transferred to San Francisco State U...

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Victoria Gordon

Governing Board President

District Office

Diablo Valley College, Pleasant Hill, CA

My community college story is really generational. George Gordon, my father in-law, was one of the founding fathers of the community college district ...

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Joy Hakola-Dardin

Research Analyst

District Office

Diablo Valley College, Pleasant Hill, CA

I am a non-traditional student. When I graduated high school I had to start paying rent. College was not an option. Both my parents having only a high...

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Kathleen Halaszynski

Director of Construction Program Controls

District Office

Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA

Attending Cuesta College was a transformative experience for me. The environment helped to pave a path to my future that wasn't visible in high schoo...

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Reed Rawlinson

Benefit Analyst

District Office

Solano College, Fairfield, CA

I started my academic career at Solano Community College, transferred to Sacramento State University and earned a bachelor’s degree. Because I am very...

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Teresea Archaga

Director of Student Retention and Support Services

Los Medanos College

Alumna, Los Medanos College

I did not know it at the time, but my passion for education and supporting students in their academic journey came from my experience as a student at ...

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Curtis Corlew

Professor, Art & Journalism

Los Medanos College

Alumnus, Diablo Valley College, Pleasant Hill, CA & Los Medanos College, Pittsburg, CA

I was a reasonably terrible high school student with no idea what to do with my life. I was, however, smart enough to know staying in school was bette...

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Susie Hansen

Lead Admissions & Records Assistant

Los Medanos College

Los Medanos College, Pittsburg, CA

I came to Los Medanos College (LMC) initially as a student and after my first semester, I started working in the Admissions & Records (A&R) office thr...

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Laurie Huffman, Ph.D.

Department Chair, World Languages

Los Medanos College

American River College, Sacramento, CA

I attended American River College (ARC) for two years and then transferred to the University of Guadalajara as an international student. Upon my retu...

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Justin Nogarr

Offset Technician

Los Medanos College

Los Medanos College, Pittsburg, CA

I knew I wanted to major in art when I first came to Los Medanos College. After taking courses with Ken Alexander, Rebecca Talley, and Curtis Corlew,...

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Carole Rogers

Counselor Assistant, Student Success & Support Programs

Los Medanos College

Los Medanos College, Pittsburg, CA

I was a re-entry or non-traditional student when I first attended Los Medanos College (LMC). I had been a stay-at-home mom and once my boys were in sc...

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Richard Villegas

Athletic Director & Head Women’s Basketball Coach

Los Medanos College

San Bernardino Valley College, San Bernardino, CA

I have been a product of the California community college system for the past 35 years as either a student, student-athlete, instructor, coach and adm...

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Sharon Wellbrook

Professor, Biology

Los Medanos College

Los Medanos College, Pittsburg, CA

I was a typical new college student, not quite sure about what I was doing, and I registered for the wrong biology class. I ended up in Jerry Davis's...

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Nicole Westbrook

Counseling Faculty

Los Medanos College

Merritt College, Oakland, CA

I was 20 years old when I started at Merritt College in 1998, after dropping out of high school in the beginning of my 11th grade year. By 1998, I had...

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