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Alumni Profiles

Denise Elwell


Denise Elwell graduated from CCA in May 2011 with an Associate of General Studies degree. An inaugural member of the Integrated Nursing Pathway Program launched in 2010, Denise is now attending the second stage of the program at University of Colorado College of Nursing at the Anschutz Medical Campus. She will graduate in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in Nursing.
Denise left the financial services industry in 2008. After more than 30 years in the financial world specializing in capital markets and risk management in the mortgage banking industry, she was ready for a change.   Embarking on a career in nursing was a lifelong ambition. The newly launched Integrated Nursing Pathway Program was a perfect fit. With no real exposure to the sciences or the health care field, Denise was eager to jump in. CCA was a welcoming environment.
According to Denise, “It is so rewarding to be able to pursue something I have always wanted to do. Higher education is so stimulating. The academic environment is a daily dose of motivation and excitement in gaining the knowledge and skills necessary to be a successful nurse. What motivates me about nursing is the wide variety of practical applications. A nursing career offers many choices for specialization. Many of these choices have piqued my interest, especially the rural and public health fields.”      
Denise has already completed her first semester at CU and is thrilled to continue her journey. It is clear that Denise’s studies at CCA helped her transition from one career field into another. Denise is able to realize her dream of becoming a nurse in a time when qualified nurses are at a premium in our communities.
The programs, faculty, and facilities offered at CCA make it possible for all students to transform their lives and explore career choices. To support the Integrated Nursing Pathway program or any other program or scholarship, please contact Diana Whye at the Community College of Aurora Foundation at 303-360-4833.

Vera Parker

In December 2004, CCA Alumna Vera Parker received an associate of applied science degree in accounting and certificates in computerized and governmental accounting. When she first started at CCA, she did not intend to get a degree, her job required that she complete 24 hours of accounting. After attending several classes and talking to her instructors, counselors and other students, she decided to go beyond her job requirements and seek a degree. 
One of her proudest moments was walking across the stage on graduation day with families and friends in the audience sharing the excitement of this special day. “If it wasn’t for the guidance of the faculty at CCA, I would not have furthered my education; they played a major role in my decision to make my education the most important part of my career”.
After leaving CCA, Vera went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in business administration as well as a master’s degree in human resource management. “My education has broadened in scope; I am currently in the process of obtaining a doctorate degree in organizational leadership. I am so thankful that CCA was there for me at a crucial time in my career”
Vera currently works at Buckley Air Force Base as a supervisor in the accounting department.  “ I am the liaison between vendors getting paid and the paying office.” She added, “I strive to help others in my office continue their education and make it part of their careers, as I have.” It is clear that CCA has had a positive impact on Vera and continues to provide this same kind of guidance, support and education to current students.

Sean Yoder


CCA alumnus, Sean Yoder attended CCA from 1995-98 and received an Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degree. After matriculating from CCA, he went on to the University of Maine, Orono, and earned a bachelor’s degree in International Affairs and a master’s in Economics. 

Currently, Sean is a researcher at the University of Dublin (Trinity College). He is finishing a Ph.D. in economics with a focus on developmental economics and poverty reduction. His research has provided him the means to travel throughout the world. For example, the last few years have given him the opportunity to meet business leaders in China, evaluate poverty reduction aid programs in Kenya, and consulting on draft poverty programs for other governments. His research has been published by The World Bank.
Sean feels CCA provided him with two essential items in enabling his life and career to unfold as it has. “First, CCA gave me a key foundation in areas which are very difficult “to master,” he said. “The professional and friendly instructors at CCA took the scary out of learning. The smaller class sizes allowed for increased interaction. This interaction was necessary to my learning key concepts well. The mastery of these key concepts made future work much easier. As a result, I was able to achieve higher grades than those who had done their work in much larger classes.”
Second, “my degree at CCA enabled me to secure my first major job while I was still finishing my bachelor’s degree. This job helped me to pay for my further education and provide for my family. The degree at CCA was critical in my being considered for the position and eventually hired.”  
CCA had a dynamic impact on Sean Yoder’s career and life today. We hope you, too, will share your CCA story with us.













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