A Creative Vision
With an eye toward landing a rocking and rolling career, Davia Herger enrolled at DMACC in Fall 2020 and began taking classes at the Ames Hunziker Center. As a high schooler, she thought she wanted to be an orthodontist, but her vision has shifted.
“I realized I didn’t want to spend all those years in college to become an orthodontist,” says Davia, who is also earning credits at Iowa State University as a member of the Student Partnership Program while taking classes at the DMACC Ames Hunziker Center.
“I wanted to do something that offered more flexibility and that’s when I turned my attention to marketing and management. That type of degree allows you to follow several career paths.”
She is hoping her career path leads her to the big stage; not as a performer, but as a promoter.
“I really like the promotion side of things,” Davia says. “I enjoy getting people’s attention and getting them excited.”
She also has a long family history of success in business that is encouraging her to dream big.
“My family ran a business for more than 70 years,” Davia says. “That's contributed to me choosing business and marketing as a career path. On top of that I just have a passion for music. I thought this would be a great way to use my business skills in the industry.”
Davia is able to pursue her rock-and-roll dreams with the help of a DMACC Foundation scholarship.
“I considered a lot of options for college, but it kept coming back to how affordable DMACC was,” she says. “I have lost a lot of hours at work over the last year with the pandemic, so having a scholarship from the Foundation ensures I have what I need to pay my rent and still pay for school.”
Achieving the Dream
Amid loss, Shyanne Brogden received a huge lift – both financially and inspirationally – from the DMACC Foundation.
Raised by her grandparents since she was four, Shyanne’s grandfather passed away in September 2020. It was a difficult time emotionally for the family. For Shyanne it was compounded by worry about how she was going to pay to continue classes at DMACC while she pursued her career goal of becoming a small animal vet.
“I didn’t know how I was going to do it,” Shyanne says. “But I was awarded the DMACC Foundation scholarship, and it made a world of difference to me.”
With her financial burdens reduced, Shyanne has thrown herself into her studies. Her plan is to complete her liberal science and biology studies and then apply to the Veterinary Science program at Iowa State University. It is a dream years in the making.
“I was probably about four years old and I was feeding squirrels in the backyard with my great grandma,” Shyanne says. “We were feeding them right out of our hands, and it stuck with me. She always told me I could be anything I wanted to be. I think becoming a vet was her dream and now it has become mine.”
Shyanne says her experience at DMACC has prepared her well as she works toward achieving that dream.
“I’ve always been a person who was very hesitant to do anything,” she says. “But I’ve learned at DMACC that I am more capable than I imagined. My professors have helped me see that ‘yes, I can do this’ and that I can get the result I’m looking for. They’re there to cheer me on and that has been good for me.”
The Land of Opportunity
In the winter of 2019, Quynh Huynh left everything she’d know all his life to pursue new opportunities in the United States. A native of Vietnam, Quynh moved to Des Moines to live with her aunt. One of the first things she did in settling into the area was enroll at DMACC.
“DMACC is the largest community college and has a lot of international students so I knew I would feel comfortable there,” Quynh says of her choice of college. She began on Ankeny Campus and now takes a mix of classes online and at Urban Campus. “It has been a very good environment for me.”
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Quynh has taken most of her classes online. While that has limited some of her contact with other students, she says she still loves DMACC.
“It is a lot tougher than I thought it would be, but all of the teachers are so friendly and so helpful,” Quynh says. She has her eyes set on following in the footsteps of her parents in Vietnam and starting her own business in the near future. “I’ve become a much more independent person here. I am much more confident and DMACC is a part of that.”
As the daughter of business owners overseas, Quynh has had myriad financial challenges. As an international student, she does not qualify for federal aid. She says her scholarships from the DMACC Foundation have been crucial to keep her on track toward reaching her career goals.
“Because of COVID-19, the economy in Vietnam has really be affected,” Quynh says. “It has been hard on my parents’ business, so the DMACC Foundation Scholarship has really lessened the burden for me and allowed me to focus more on school.”
Nursing Student Raves about DMACC
Having the opportunity to take Certified Nursing Aide (CNA) classes while she was in high school introduced Natalie Bretey to work in healthcare. Inspired by her instructor and passionate about her work as a CNA at Mary Greeley Medical Center, Natalie enrolled in the RN program on the DMACC Ankeny Campus in the Fall of 2018.
She says she loves everything about her DMACC experience.
“I have a lot of good friends that I worked with at the hospital that recommended DMACC to me,” Natalie says. “They raved about it.”
Natalie adds that the support of her DMACC Foundation scholarship has been critical.
“It has helped a crazy amount,” she says. “When I began clinicals in Des Moines it became too difficult to commute [from Ames], so I need to move to Ankeny. My scholarship meant I could afford school and an apartment without having to work full-time. It made it possible for me to knock my hours down to PRN so I had the option of working when I had the time.”
Set to complete her degree in the Spring of 2022, Natalie is researching her next steps.
“I’m going to probably stay on in the Broadlawns Emergency Room where I am now,” she says. “From there, I’m not quite sure yet whether I want to go after my bachelor’s degree or enter an R.N. to master’s program.”
Regardless of her next step, Natalie is happy she chose DMACC.
“It was my friends who convinced me DMACC was the place for me,” Natalie says. “Now I recommend it to all of my friends. I have just learned so much to prepare me for my nursing career.”
Nearly a decade after completing her GED at Marshalltown Community College, Keely Murphy was compelled to enroll in the Automotive Technology program on DMACC’s Ankeny Campus. A single mother who was working a pretty busy schedule, Keely struggled and eventually had to drop out.
But that didn’t diminish her fire to work in the automotive industry. Just two years after she was forced to drop out, Keely re-enrolled in the program. Today, she is closing in on completing her studies and moving into the workforce full-time as an automotive technician. Keely says she is excited for what the future holds.
“I’ve always had an interest in cars, and it is a really good profession and job market,” she says. Keely currently works part-time at Trent’s Garage, an all-female auto repair shop in Clive. “I really enjoy engine work. I understand how engines work and I like that mechanical aspect of the job.”
Keely is thriving in the program now, which is made possible in part by support from a DMACC Foundation scholarship.
“I’m a single mom and I work as well as going to school,” she says. “And when I’m in school full-time, I can’t get as many hours at work. The DMACC Foundation scholarship, along with some grants and loans, have really helped. The scholarship especially because it means I don’t have to take out as many loans.”
Looking back on her journey, Keely says she is proud to be where she is today.
“I didn’t see myself going in the direction I am now a few years ago,” she says. “My family has always had financial problems so there wasn’t any help for me to go to college. But now that I am in the program, there is so much support for me. From my instructors in the program, from my family, and from my work.”
That support has Keely dreaming big.
“I hope someday to gain enough experience,” she says, “to be a service advisor or even open my own shop.”
Living the American Dream
In her native Kazakhstan, Zahnar Orynbay was a teacher. When she married in 2013 and moved to the United States, she knew she would have difficulty teaching in her new country. Regardless of the challenges ahead, she possessed a passion for learning and immediately enrolled in English as a Second Language (ESL) classes in her new hometown of Houston.
Shortly after completing those classes, she moved with her new husband to Des Moines where she enrolled at DMACC. On DMACC’s Urban Campus, Zahnar applied her love of math to pursue an Associate’s degree in Accounting.
“I have dyslexia, so teaching math in my third language was not going to be possible,” she says. “I visited with the advisors at DMACC and they recommended that I try accounting. My goal is to have a better life here in America and that depends on a good education.”
Zahnar feels like she is receiving that good education at DMACC. She is set to complete her studies next August and has already landed work as a tax associate. Zahnar says that as a mother and wife, the flexibility and support offered at DMACC have been invaluable.
“I am really thankful for my professors,” she says. “They are so passionate about their classes and so willing to spend time to help students out, especially students like me. From my teaching background, I know how important that is.”
A DMACC Foundation scholarship recipient, Zahnar says the financial support has also been important.
“The scholarship allows me to work part-time so I can spend more time on my schoolwork,” she says. “Without a scholarship, I would have to work full-time. This speeds up the time it takes to get my degree.”
With a degree on the horizon, Zahnar says she is living the American dream.
“I feel very fortunate, and I am inspired to someday give back to DMACC,” she says. “It is the foundation DMACC has provided me that will help me be successful.”
An Incredible Opportunity
When Brock Schlueter learned that he could take welding classes on the DMACC Carroll Campus during his sophomore year at Exira-Elk Horn-Kimballton (Exira-EHK) High School, he took advantage of the opportunity. Now after two years of being dual-enrolled at DMACC and Exira-EHK, he is ready to jump into his career.
Brock graduated from high school last spring and will earn his welding diploma from DMACC this summer. From there, a world of options exist as western Iowa is rich with manufacturing opportunities at companies with international reach.
“It’s really nice to have this program so close to home,” Brock says. “There are a lot of places around here that need the type of skills we are gaining. There are a lot of local jobs and about every town has a major employer or some type of local metal shop.”
Increasing the capacity of the welding program, while improving the physical environment for students, is one of the centerpieces of the Carroll Campus expansion project. The expansion project will add more than 10,000 square feet of space, including the new welding lab.
“The fact that this new addition is coming is fantastic,” Brock says. “To have a new building where it is cleaner and better set up will be good for everybody. And to know that people in the community are interested in supporting something like this is a win.”
Dream of Teaching Drives Campfield to Enroll at DMACC
After graduating from Lincoln High School in Des Moines back in 2014, Mackenzie Campfield decided that college wasn’t for her. She landed a solid job as a production assistant at a local manufacturing company and over the course of a few years worked her way up to an account analyst.
While she loved her work and her employer, Mackenzie couldn’t shake the feeling that she wanted to be back in the classroom—first as a student and eventually as a teacher.
“One morning I woke up and said to myself, ‘Why am I not an elementary teacher’,” says Mackenzie, who is looking to earn her associate’s degree at DMACC before studying for her bachelor’s degree at a university in the state. “I love teaching children. Both my mother and stepmother ran in-home daycares, so kids have always been a natural part of my life. It is my dream to put my passion for guiding children to work as a teacher.”
DMACC scholarships have been instrumental in helping Mackenzie make ends meet.
“Scholarships have helped me tremendously,” she says. “Rather than focusing on picking up another shift, I can pick up another course to help me more quickly move closer to my career goal.”
Mackenzie says her return to school has been incredible and that DMACC was the perfect place for her to begin working toward her goal.
“My favorite part about DMACC is the amazing instructors,” she says. “They all want you to succeed and excel. It's just amazing to have not only have my family back me up, but to have the instructors teaching me want me to succeed.”
Eyeing a Career Change, Fredericks Turns to DMACC
As the mother of a child with a significant disability, Rita Fredericks needed flexibility in her career. As a seasoned marketing and public relations professional, she was often pulled in a million different directions, finding it difficult to balance responsibilities at home and at work.
Eventually it became too much.
Struggling to manage it all, Rita looked to DMACC for a fresh start by enrolling in the Medical Laboratory Technician program.
“I decided to make a career change based on our children’s situation,” says Rita, who was fully supported in her decision by husband, Nathan. “I am a nontraditional student who already has a bachelor’s and master’s degree and is raising a family. The way the program is set up at DMACC is perfect for me. It makes all of this doable.”
It has also helped that Rita has received DMACC Foundation scholarships.
“They have allowed me to switch careers while balancing school and family,” Rita says of the scholarships. “It has enabled me to make this big step without putting us in a difficult position financially as a family. This is going to be a better fit for our family, and I am so thankful for the support I have received.”
Upon completing her studies in the spring of 2023, Rita plans to work in a local laboratory.
“I really want to work in a non-profit public medical setting like Broadlawns or the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics,” Rita says. “Staying her in Iowa and working at one of those places is my ultimate goal.”