Noelle was recently out of the army and recovering from a severe back injury. She hadn’t done well in high school but received a California Proficiency Exam Diploma, so she decided to give college a try with her veteran’s benefits.
“CMC helped me find my way by giving me confidence,” explains Noelle, who went on from Colorado Mountain College Steamboat to earn a Ph.D. from Cornell, Postdoctoral Fellowship at Brown University and a Fulbright Award.
Noelle says that CMC helped her “find direction through the advising and support of professors that encouraged me to reach for higher goals.”
But more importantly, the California native stresses, CMC helped make learning fun again. She describes CMC as a supportive environment where “I was never turned away from a professor’s office.”
“And the fact that the professors were so enthusiastic really inspired me,” she says.
Noelle now brings that same type of enthusiasm to the students in her classroom at Marquette University.
“It was the right decision for me,” Noelle says of attending CMC. “And I would encourage others to choose CMC, particularly for non-traditional students that might be a little apprehensive about returning to the classroom.”
Noelle adds that CMC provided an excellent foundation for future study by allowing her to take a wide range of courses like economics and Spanish. She even got to reflect on her time in the military during speech class.
“All of these things opened up a lot of different worlds to me that I wasn’t aware of,” she recalls.
That eagerness to learn new ideas continued throughout her academic career. Noelle’s doctoral research focused on the violence and uncertainty that confronts Central American migrants. She conducted two years of fieldwork at a Catholic migrant shelter, and rode a train along illegal migrant routes in El Salvador, Mexico and the United States.
Her research has led to countless journal articles and she is in the process of writing a book. Noelle was also recently awarded a highly competitive invitation to be Visiting Associate Research Scholar at the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies (PIIRS).
“Where would I be without CMC? I don’t know,” says Noelle. All of this might not have been possible if she had not found Colorado Mountain College.