Senior Director of Events & Special Programs with the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance
What brought you to RACC?
When I left high school, I went right into college not really knowing what I wanted to do. Within two years I found myself skipping class, really going down a bad path. I was failing all of my classes and then dropped out of college. Everyone was surprised because I had a great GPA in high school, was a track star, and ready to go with everything. When I got to college, it all slipped away. Then I took a year off. During that time, I realized quickly I wanted a college degree and I was ashamed how I let my future slip away.
RACC was the first place I decided to restart. Nothing had transferred so I was starting all over again. I knew that RACC was the way to go from a price point perspective initially and that is when I started to have an amazing experience. I had not shared what had happened previously, but I took everything seriously and worked hard to try to catch back up to my peers in my age group. I really enjoyed the teachers at RACC. The smaller class sizes were a benefit and having a great rapport with the teachers helped me.
They did not care how old you were, they were there for you. That is what kept me at RACC and I received my Associate of Arts in Communications and was so thankful for the great experience.
How did your experience at RACC shape your career path?
Being able to start at a college where I knew I was going to be paying for it myself, along with financial aid, definitely put a responsibility on me. After messing up the first time and feeling so bad that my mom had paid my tuition, made me work even harder. Between the smaller class sizes, open space opportunities and the diversity in the classroom, it opened my eyes to what Reading and Berks County offered. Following RACC, I went to Kutztown University. The RACC teachers hooked me up with the professors at Kutztown and I got to talk to people before I went. RACC put the responsibility on me to make the future that I wanted. They were there for me and they pushed me to succeed and definitely made my transition to get my bachelor's degree at Kutztown an easier step. The hard work I put in at RACC to keep up my GPA transferred into my professional role. I have never stopped trying to surpass my peers.
I definitely will say that RACC brought back my confidence. I always worked in the hospitality industry, but I knew it wasn't something I wanted to do my whole life. One day I was working in a restaurant and a high school classmate, who was as competitive as me in high school, was with his family at the table and asked “What are you up to these days?” And all I could say was “This” and it was embarrassing for me because I know people expected me to have done more and better things. So, when I enrolled at RACC and had my associate's degree, I was so proud because I knew I was back on track.
The transition to Kutztown University was great. I had an internship. I was still working although the commute was long. Everything I needed to get started at Kutztown to finish my bachelor's degree was provided to me at RACC.
What advice/insight would you give to current RACC students?
I know that being a non-traditional student, there were people around me that were struggling, especially during this COVID pandemic. When it starts to really hit you, you need to think about what those around you are thinking. They may not know everything that is going on in your life, but they know you are going to RACC to better yourself because you have a need to be something better, to do something better for you, your family and the community. You need to keep that pride, because it will stick with you and will make your future all the more worth it.
2021 marks RACC's 50th Anniversary. What message would you like to pass on to President Looney and the RACC Community on this historic occasion?
Being someone who grew up in Fleetwood and lived in Berks County my entire life, going to RACC and understanding what it provides is phenomenal. Being able to work for the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance and understanding what RACC does for the community, I urge RACC to continue to be loud about what it offers and how it helps the community in many ways. Thank you for everything you do and good luck to the next 50!