COCC Graduates Reflect on Their Journey

In 2015-16, nearly 900 certificates and degrees will be awarded from COCC. We look forward to celebrating with this years graduates, and their families, during commencement on Saturday. Every graduate has a story to share and we asked three students to discuss their experience at COCC.

3 COCC Graduates 2016

Lorraine Skalla
Associate of Applied Science, Helicopter Aviation
Associate of ArtsTransfer Business Degree

I started the Helicopter Aviation Program at COCC in the Fall of 2013 after learning about the program from a friend. After a couple of meetings with Program Director Karl Baldessari, I was convinced that this was the right track for me. I took coursework at COCC while flight training at Leading Edge Aviation at the Bend Airport. I also worked part time at 900 Wall Restaurant in downtown Bend while in school.

I graduated from the program with all my flight ratings earlier this year, and began working as a flight instructor at Leading Edge Aviation last month. Eventually, my goals are to get into firefighting and helicopter emergency medical services. For now, I'm thrilled to have completed my degree at COCC and to have already found work right out of school and in the town I love!

Paul Hammerquist
Associate of AppliedScience, Paramedicine

In 2013, I made the decision to leave our family business and chase the dream of becoming a paramedic; however, I was fairly intimidated by the math and writing that was required. I had not taken formal classes in nearly 20 years and was not sure if I was up for the challenge. I jumped in with both feet, got some help from some amazing instructors, and passed with flying colors.

My confidence grew and I quickly came to enjoy and look forward to the challenge my classes provided. I greatly value the education I received at COCC. I am proud of the work I did to complete my degree and I look forward to working in the central Oregon community as a paramedic in the near future.

Allison Lake
Associate of AppliedScience, Veterinary Technician

I have been at COCC for a few years now and have been nothing short of impressed with the program, faculty, and staff. I transferred to COCC from a University and noticed no difference in the quality of education between the two. My professors provided very difficult material while also providing resources and support to help us succeed. The vet tech program has provided me the knowledge and skills to begin my new career as a certified veterinary technician in the community.