Learning to Succeed

Brooke McGhee is business-minded with an artistic flair.

Gage Johnson has a competitive streak and thrives in the medical field.

What they both possess is a knack for spotting opportunities to make the most of their college experience.

When Brooke graduated at the top of her class in Mediapolis, she had her eye on the University of Northern Iowa. A solid choice.

But a conversation with her friend made her rethink her decision. She learned that as class valedictorian, she qualified for a full-ride at SCC as a Trustee Scholar.

“I worked hard all through high school, and at UNI I wouldn’t have gotten anything,” she says. “I was kind of feeling like all that hard work was almost for nothing.”

After conversations with enrollment specialist Barb Carroll, Brooke decided the right track for her was to pursue degrees in the interactive and social media marketing and entrepreneurship programs.

“There’s a lot to do here,” she explains. “There’s a lot of different clubs and ways to get involved.”

She joined the Graphic Communications Club, which gave her first-hand learning experiences with trips to Chicago and St. Louis for conferences and tours of advertising agencies.

In her sophomore year, Brooke joined young women from around the globe on the college’s new women’s soccer team. Even with daily practice at 5 a.m., she found time to do marketing work for a local business.

This spring, she combined her passion for athletics with her talent and new knowledge of graphic design and created digital marketing materials for SCC’s athletic social media sites. She notes that her peers at four-year institutions typically don’t have such hands on opportunities until their third or fourth year of college.

“It’s great being able to do it now, as a sophomore, because I feel like a lot of people have to wait until they are a junior or senior. Here I am, two years in, and I’m already ready to go,” she smiles.

Brooke has her eyes set on launching her own graphic design business.

“I want to do graphic design and marketing for small businesses that need to get their brand out there,” she explains. “I want to support local small businesses.”

Gage Johnson came to SCC with the desire to work in the medical field, but knew nursing wasn’t for him. He’d heard about the quality of the SCC’s respiratory care program and decided to give it a try.

“As soon as I started, I loved it,” he says. “It’s in the medical field, it only takes two years, and there are a lot of job opportunities out there.”

Like Brooke, Gage also sought out opportunities to maximize his time at SCC, so he joined the Respiratory Care Club. This gave him and fellow respiratory care students the opportunity to attend the annual Iowa Society for Respiratory Care conference in Des Moines.

Gage and his classmates participated in the highlight of the conference: the Sputum Bowl, a trivia competition that tests students’ knowledge of respiratory care topics. SCC students have taken first place nearly every year for the past 16 years — beating out 2- and 4- year colleges from across the state.

Gage’s team won two years in a row.

This track record of SCC students’ success has not been lost on employers.

“Our students are highly sought after,” says SCC Respiratory Care Program Coordinator Stacy Lewis-Sells. “I receive calls from facilities in Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri. These folks are in cities with colleges that have a respiratory care program, yet they still call us looking for grads.”

Those calls for quality graduates led to opportunities for Gage and fellow graduate Cortney Otte. Each accepted offers from the University of Missouri Health Care located in Columbia, MO securing a job months before graduation. Gage rattled off a hiring package that is the envy of any college grad.

“They offered $10,000 in incentives, plus a $5,000 relocation fee. And I can get 75% off tuition, so I’m going to go for my bachelor’s.”

Gage is pondering which program to choose and appreciates that the respiratory care track led to these opportunities he didn’t realize were within reach.

“I didn’t know what to expect when I started at SCC,” he says. “Once you get into respiratory care, you realize there are a lot of opportunities out there. This is the best program in the area.”

about the programs

Interested in Respiratory Care? Learn more in our catalog.

Think about Entrepreneurship or Interactive Social Media Marketing?

Right this way: Head to entrepreneurship. What is ISMM about?

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