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Concurrent Enrollment Student Stories

Student Success Stories

Hear from students who attribute their success to their time in the Concurrent Enrollment Program or the ASCENT Program. 

Meet Patrice Lewis, Patrice participated in Concurrent Enrollment and ASCENT!

Photo of Patrice Lewis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My name is Patrice Lewis and I currently work at the Community College of Aurora (CCA) as a College Recruiter. I have lived here in Aurora for about 10 years now. I graduated from Overland High School in 2016 which is where I was granted the opportunity to take Concurrent Enrollment (CE) classes. As a high schooler, my counselor recommended that I take these CE classes because they would challenge me more and help me when I started college. Little did I know that these classes were a blessing in disguise! I was able to take these classes at my high school and get credit for high school as well as at CCA.

After I had graduated from Overland, I enrolled at the Community College of Aurora where I received my Associate of Arts in Business. I am truly grateful that my counselor at my high school as well as my CE advisor at CCA was able to assist me in enrolling in Concurrent Enrollment classes. If it was not for them I would have not have been able to graduate earlier as well as be able to save money along the way! That is why now, as a College Recruiter I always advocate students to take CE classes as soon as possible that way you can take college classes for free that will benefit you in the future. By taking CE classes it has helped me continue my education to now where I have my BS in Accounting. The Concurrent Enrollment program is another reason why I continue to work at the Community College of Aurora so that I can pay it forward and tell other students the great opportunities you can gain by taking CE classes.

I am truly grateful that my counselor at my high school as well as my CE advisor at CCA was able to assist me in enrolling in Concurrent Enrollment classes. If it was not for them I would have not have been able to graduate earlier as well as be able to save money along the way!

Meet Efren Herrera Hurtado, Efren participated in Concurrent Enrollment and ASCENT!

Meet Efren Herrera Hurtado

My name is Efren Herrera Hurtado and I identify as a first-generation college student. I was born in Zacatecas, Mexico, and have been raised my entire life in Aurora, Colorado. I attended K-12 school here, graduated from Rangeview High School in 2015. I received my Associate of Arts in 2016 through the ASCENT program at CCA. I was fortunate enough to have started my college career early on as a sophomore in high school through CCA’s Concurrent Enrollment Program. Thankfully because of those opportunities, I was able to graduate from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2018 with my Bachelor of Arts in Ethnic Studies and French minor. I am now enrolled in the Master of Arts program for Higher Education Student Affairs Leadership at the University of Northern Colorado (UNC).

As a graduate student, I am actively working with the Cesar Chavez Cultural Center at UNC as an Academic Coach/Graduate Assistant. I have been interning with Concurrent Enrollment at CCA for the Spring 2020 semester. As a proud alum, I am always happy to return to the spaces that have supported and helped me through my earlier years. One of my favorite memories as a Concurrent Enrollment and ASCENT student is having deep and extensive conversations with my then-advisor Dawn Post and a few other members of the community. Both programs have helped me tremendously; growing into a mature and knowledgeable student and learning about multiple disciplines and applying knowledge to practice.

It was challenging navigating the higher education system because I am a first-generation student. However, I am able to say, with full confidence, that it has been rewarding learning on my own and besides others. I hope to take everything I have learned and apply it to a future career as a professor of higher education and a speaker on global issues and philosophy. My time with CCA has given me the opportunity to step into territories that I now call my passions and interests: music, philosophy, social justice, and writing. I am grateful for those that have challenged me along the way and for those that have been my cheerleaders. Something I have learned is that my education is one of the few things that no one or nothing will ever be able to take away from me. I am grateful to those who have been with me on my educational journey – a rollercoaster – and have helped me succeed.

 I wish all Concurrent Enrollment and ASCENT students the best of their endeavors and wishes. Don’t ever let anyone or anything stop you from doing what you say you are going to do.

 

Meet Quynh Nguyen, Quynh participated in the ASCENT Program!

Photo of Guynh Nguyen

My name is Quynh, but I also go by Huong! I was born in a small town in Vietnam and moved to Aurora, CO when I was 6 years old. Although I practically grew up here, the first few years of school were very difficult for me due to the language barrier. However, I grew to love school once I got the hang of it. As a kid, I’ve always been curious about peoples, cultures, and societies. Moving to the U.S. and learning to integrate into society here, made me question things like why certain behaviors are acceptable in one culture and not the other; why do people interact with each other way they do; and how society and our environment shape our beliefs. 

These types of questions are what sparked my interest in the field of sociology. In the fall of 2020, I will be transferring to the University of Denver to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. My dream career is to be a sociologist because I’m passionate about both research and writing. As a sociologist, I would like to conduct studies that give back to the community, whether it be presenting new research information or raising awareness on social issues.

I am very thankful for the ASCENT program because as a first-generation immigrant college student, the program helped me navigate this new chapter in life. My favorite part of being an ASCENT student was being able to meet new people and developing life skills through workshops and conferences. Overall, my experience at CCA has been very positive. I will definitely miss the cultural diversity and tight-knit community on campus!

I am very thankful for the ASCENT program because as a first-generation immigrant college student, the program helped me navigate this new chapter in life. My favorite part of being an ASCENT student was being able to meet new people and developing life skills through workshops and conferences.

 

Meet Angelita Chavez Cazarez, Angelita participated in the ASCENT Program!

Meet Angelita Chavez Cazarez

My name is Angelita Chavez Cazarez – 18 years old and looking forward to what life has in stock for me! I was born and raised in Michoacán, Mexico. At the age of 14, I moved to the United States to study. It was a rough year not only because of the language barrier that kept me from moving forward in my studies but also because when I first arrived in the U.S., I was alone; my parents were still in Mexico. I arrived in Aurora at the end of the winter of 2018 – and finished my junior and senior year of high school. I graduated from Hinkley High School!

After testing to see if I was eligible to participate in the Concurrent Enrollment program at CCA, I was able to take college-level classes at my high school and also at CCA. Later, I was accepted into the ASCENT program and started attending CCA full time beginning in the Fall of 2019. I cannot stress enough how grateful I am I was able to become an ASCENT Scholar. The ASCENT program has provided me with not only financial support but also counseling and has helped me figure out my goals for my future career.

I will be graduating from the Community College of Aurora this summer and will also receive my high school diploma. Starting Fall 2020, I will be a first-year student at Colorado State University in Fort Collins; I will be transferring my college credits from CCA to complete a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering. The ASCENT program has given me more than I could have imagined; it prepared me for the transition to a larger college and helped me perfect my English while taking college classes.

My favorite part about the ASCENT program was going to orientation every time a new semester started because I was able to share how I was doing and also because I was able to listen to my fellow ASCENT scholars' experiences; I made friendships that I hope will last a lifetime. I will always be grateful to Dawn Post for being an excellent advisor – always making sure I was doing well and always being there when I had questions. Thanks to her, I am one more step closer to achieving my career goals!

To all past, present, and future ASCENT scholars, I hope you succeed in life and achieve all the goals you have for yourselves.

To all past, present, and future ASCENT scholars, I hope you succeed in life and achieve all the goals you have for yourselves.

 

Meet Gissell Castillo, Gissell participated in Concurrent Enrollment and ASCENT! 

Meet Gissell Castillo

My name is Gissell Castillo and I was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. I am of Mexican heritage – my parents are from Chihuahua, Mexico and I am a first-generation student. I have attended Aurora Public Schools my entire school career and graduated from Aurora West College Preparatory Academy in May 2019. I attended CCA through the Concurrent Enrollment Program since my sophomore year in high school. Now, I attend CCA through the ASCENT Program. I have been working toward my Associate of Science degree, CNA certification, and my pre-requisites for nursing school. CCA has allowed me to experience college life at such a young age.

I would like to have a career as a CNA real soon to gain some experience in the medical field. Once I am done with my pre-requisites, I plan to apply to a nursing program either through CCA or through CU Denver; I plan to get a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. My hope is to become a Registered Nurse in a labor delivery unit or in a pediatrics unit. I would like to continue further in school afterward and possibly become a Nurse Practitioner.

Something challenging about being in the ASCENT program, for me, was not being completely sure what classes I wanted to take at first. It was very hard for me at first because I was not sure what I wanted to look for in a career or what I wanted to study in general. However, the ASCENT program also helped me identify what I wanted to do and also opened up a lot more ideas for what I could do in the future.

My favorite part about being in the ASCENT program was the opportunity that it gave me to truly let me figure out what I wanted to do in the future. It also allowed me to meet both other people who were also undecided and were experiencing the same thing as me and meet people that had similar aspirations as me.  Somebody that has been very helpful to me in the ASCENT program is Dawn Post. She has also helped guide me in a certain direction and has given me ideas on my next steps whenever I had no clue on what to do next – Dawn helped me identify my true passion. She has made my journey in the ASCENT program much easier, especially now that we are facing online classes.

The ASCENT program also helped me identify what I wanted to do and also opened up a lot more ideas for what I could do in the future.

 

Meet Jose R. Reyna, Jose participated in Concurrent Enrollment and ASCENT!

Meet Jose R. Reyna

Over the last twelve years, I have grown to appreciate the place I consider to be my home -  Colorado! Originally from Southern California, my family moved states twice in order to find stability; eventually, having found it here in the Centennial State. I am thankful they found it here because it set forth a new way of life my family desperately needed at the time. Over the span of those years, I fell in love with my home and the people in our community. So, when it came to deciding whether to study at CCA or out-of-state, I chose CCA without hesitation. This was a decision that absolute support from my family!

Thanks to the Concurrent Enrollment Program, I was able to get a preview of what the environment of a college classroom felt like during high school. As a result, this ended up persuading me to join ASCENT. Through my journey in the ASCENT program, I had plenty of help from Dawn Post who never made me feel like I was alone in the process. I am thankful to have had her as my advisor – she is an asset to the ASCENT program.

Once I receive my Associate of Arts with a Business Designation from CCA, I will be attending the University of Colorado Denver this upcoming Fall 2020 to major in accounting. Once I have my degree in accounting, I hope to pursue a career that consists of my following passions: business, finance, and politics. I strongly believe that one day I can blend these passions together through a position in an accounting firm or government agency. Being able to find the middle balance that consists of my passions would ultimately support my goal of finding my own type of stability.

Thanks to the Concurrent Enrollment Program, I was able to get a preview of what the environment of a college classroom felt like during high school. As a result, this ended up persuading me to join ASCENT.

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