Alumni Success

Kelly Garber

Senior Director of Clinical Services & Marketing
Apria Healthcare

Kelly GarberKelly attended CCA in 1988 to take her general education classes in an effort to lighten the load when she went for her degree at TH Pickens.

“CCA gave me an excellent start!” Kelly says.

Just a few years later she accomplished her goal and enrolled in a Respiratory Therapy program at Pickens Tech. Not only did she graduate from Pickens, Kelly received her degree with honors as a member of the Lamda Beta Honor Society.

Kelly then moved into the workforce, and after several years working at area hospitals in ER and Critical care, she moved into the device-manufacturing arena and then into home care.

Kelly has since been with Apria Healthcare for 10 years and has been moving up in the ranks. She is currently a senior director for this national company, enjoying great success!


Jena Salazar

Elementary School Teacher
Department of Defense Education Activity

Jena SalazarJena attended CCA to take her general studies courses because she knew she wanted to transfer to a 4-year university for her bachelor’s degree. She stuck to her plan, and graduated in 1998 with an A.A. and an A.G.S., and then transferred to Metro State. Just a year later she graduated from Metro with a B.S. in Criminal Justice.

While her original plan was to work in Criminal Justice or move on to law school, things worked out a little differently. “At the time of my graduation from Metro I had 3 young children, and felt law school would be too demanding on my family.”

But she didn’t stop there – instead she started substitute teaching, and in 2004 she graduated from National University with an M.Ed. She has been teaching ever since.

In 2010 Jena graduated again, this time from Liberty University with her Ed.S. in Educational Leadership.

Currently, Jena is working for the Department of Defense Education Activity and teaching at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.

“I really enjoy my job and I am so grateful that I get to teach the children of our military men and women.”

Now Jena is a doctoral candidate at Liberty University, and is set to graduate with her Ed.D this year!


Josh Coe

Systems/Hardware Engineer
Raytheon Company

Josh CoeJosh attended CCA with the same intention as many of our students – to transfer to a 4-year university. In Josh’s case, it was the University of Colorado at Denver’s electrical engineering program. The difference for Josh was that he was going back to school after serving 4 years in the US Navy.

“It had been a long time since I had been a serious student,” Josh says. “I appreciate my time at CCA -- it enabled me to learn how to be a successful student.”

While at CCA, he studied math, science and took care of his gen-ed classes. His planning worked, and Josh graduated from UCD in 2013 with his Bachelor of Science as a member of Tau Beta Pi (the oldest engineering honor society.)

“During those 10 years at CCA and UCD, I always worked full-time, and I averaged two classes per semester including most summer semesters.” Josh deserves a lot of credit for his hard work and dedication, but he gives some back to CCA, “It would have been much more difficult for me to succeed had I not decided to restart my education at a community college” he says.

Now Josh is successfully working in his field as a Systems/Hardware Engineer at Raytheon Company. He has been working there for the past six years.


Daithan Kitchens

Project Lead / Owner & Photographer
Xcel Energy / KIDA Photography

Daithan Kitchens

Daithan studied business while at CCA and transferred to the University of Colorado, Denver where he got his bachelor’s degree in business administration, and his master’s in management & organization. “I am glad to have been able to attend CCA before attending a large 4-year university,” he says “I was able to acclimate to the culture of college, while gradually building up a balance between work, school, and my personal life.”

Now Daithan is a construction lead for Xcel Energy and oversees the installation of gas and electric infrastructures. He also owns his own photography business, KIDA Photography. “I attribute any success I’ve enjoyed to a few key factors,” Daithan states, “Always stay in learning mode; remember that failure is often the best teacher; and the road to anywhere starts with just one step.”


Charles Watkins

Sr. Systems Administrator (IT)
United States Antarctic Program

Charles Watkins

Charles attended the Community College of Aurora and received his associate degree in General Studies. “Just the basics,” he says, “but I took some extra time with art classes and particularly got the biggest kicks out of trig, microeconomics with Okole Uwadebe, logic, and psychology.”

Charles then continued his education at Metro State where he earned a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Studies. As a part of his course of study, Charles participated in an internship where he was able to go to the U.S. Geological Survey's National Ice Core Lab (NICL) in Lakewood, CO. “It was at NICL that I was first exposed to the science and work being done in Antarctica.” Charles claims. “After two years of interning and working at NICL, I graduated Metro and went to work for the U.S. Antarctic Program primary support contractor." Since then, Charles has traveled to Antarctica a total of 9 times over the past 15 years – as well as New Zealand, Chile, Australia and Argentina.

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