Abigail Bridges

Abigail Bridges was born and raised in Bellingham, Wash., and moved to Texas when she was eight.

Bridges is majoring in business accounting. Once she has completed her degree, she would like to join the CPA or enroll into law school.

However, Bridges has other plans for the future.

“I want to make enough money, to give away money,” she said,

“I also want to be able to make enough money in order to do the things I enjoy.”

If she is fortunate enough, Bridges would like to one day build a housing community for single mothers. The idea is for the housing community to bring single mothers together to help each other out. Bridges wants to be able to help single mothers get an education. The housing community would either be low rent, or paid 100 percent by charities.

Aside from her goals and aspirations, Bridges helps out in her community as well. She is the treasurer for the student ambassadors on campus and teaches pre-school two days a week.

Bridges says that she doesn’t really have any hobbies.

“School is my hobby,” she said as she laughed.


Hannah Bridges

Hannah Bridges devotes a lot of time to her hobbies: learning to playing guitar and piano.

Bridges has been playing guitar for about a year now. She has been involved in the TCC guitar ensemble for the past two semesters.

“We won an award for the best large ensemble at the Brownsville Guitar Festival,” Bridges mentioned.

Other hobbies that Bridges enjoys are reading, being involved in guitar club, and watching movies.

“I think I probably spend way too much money watching so many movies,” she said.

Once Bridges receives her degree in either music business or music theory and composition, she has goals she wants to achieve.

“My heart is set on leading a worship ministry,” Bridges said.

Bridges has also thought about teaching, but in the long run she wants to get into music production.

“I would like to eventually own my studio,” she said.

For now, Bridges says she just wants to focus on finishing school.

Alyssa McCarley

Puppies and a mother German Shephard lived in her bathtub as she helped take care of the new litter. Rabbits and horses played in her backyard. Cats climbed around her house.

“I wanted to call him Dipstick because of his tail,” she said. “But they like to call him Little Thing.”

Growing up, SE student Alyssa McCarley said she had her own petting zoo as she pointed to a baby cow on her computer screen which she helped deliver.

Her mother, who teaches veterinary technology at Cedar Valley community college, has always had a heart for the animals, McCarley said.

“She’s fascinated by animals, which is why we have so many,” she said.

The family often receives a discount on animal food because of the job McCarley’s mother has, lowering the expenses of caring for all their animals almost by half, McCarley said.

“We can buy a really good 20-pound bag of food that’s normally $30 for $15,” she said.

And when it comes time to clean up the messes and playing with the animals, McCarley jokes of giving her younger brother the chore.

“It’s generally my little brother’s job to clean up the back yard,” she said. “But you just have to keep it on a rotation system and make sure everyone gets outside and the animals have plenty of time to run around.”

However, when her family moved out of a countryside area, some of the furry creatures had to go. The most she’s had at once has been about 12.

“We had a little bit more land, but since we’ve moved here, we’ve actually sold some of the dogs, but they just kind of slowly built back up over the years,” she said.

Linsey Gourley

Linsey Gourley wanted to be a nurse her whole life.

“I have always loved to take care of others and thought it was a perfect fit to be a nurse,” she said.

Gourley started her college career at Texas Tech and after two years decided to come back to Fort Worth and start nursing school at TCC.

She was accepted into TCC’s nursing program in the fall 2005.

“I was thrilled to be starting the program and felt so lucky to have been chosen out of a big pool of students who had applied,” she said.

Gourley finished her first semester with a 4.0 GPA and began her second semester in the spring 2006. One month into her second semester, she began to wonder if this was really something she wanted to do.

“I was loosing the passion I had for it and became interested in the business aspect of running a hospital,” she said.

Gourley finished the semester but did not return for the summer term. She met with advisers and discussed a degree in hospital administration.

The following fall she began classes at the University of North Texas.

“I decided to pursue a degree in organizational behavior and hoped that I had made the right decision,” she said.

Gourley graduated from UNT in the spring 2008 with her bachelor’s degree in organizational behavior. She began working for Harris Methodist Hospital in the patient relations department.

“I was happy with my choice and loved my job but wanted to go back and get my masters degree,” she said.

Gourley is now working on her master’s degree in hospital administration from UNT and is expected to graduate this August.

While she is happy with her choice to pursue a different career, she explains how much she learned while in nursing school.

TCC has one of the best nursing programs, and I consider myself very lucky to have been a part of it. I learned so much about patience and compassion and carry that with me today,” she said.

Dolyn Mayo

Many students have high, although sometimes vague, aspirations for life after college. They want to move somewhere different and start a new life.

Not NE student Dolyn Mayo.

Twenty-year-old Mayo plans to stay local and one day become the mayor of Fort Worth.

“I’ve always been a people person,” Mayo said. “I love meeting and greeting people.”

Mayo hopes to combine his networking and people skills with a degree in history or government from UTA.

“If you can’t talk and listen to people, you can’t be mayor,” said Mayo, referring to his hope of minoring in mass communication.

Mayo graduated from Easter Hills High School, where he worked for a mentorship program that helps students all across Fort Worth. The program paired high school problem kids with those who excel and allowed them to learn from each other.

Although he researches accomplishments made by past Fort Worth mayors, Mayo said he tries to stay away from being too politically minded.

“People don’t like politicans,” Mayo said. “They all promise things they don’t deliver. If I can stay away from that I think I have a good chance of being successful.”

Mayo said building a strong community would be key if he were mayor. The home must also do its part to help out the youth. The schools can’t do all the work, he said.

“That doesn’t sound too political, does it?” Mayo asked with a smile.

Chelsi Allen

At 21 years old, Chelsi Allen is one of the youngest patient care technicians at Texas Health Resources Harris Emergency Room.

She started working in the emergency room in August 2008 because she was interested in nursing.

“I wanted to make sure that whenever I pursued my nursing that this was what I wanted to do and I was capable of working in this atmosphere,” Allen said.

After working at the hospital for eight months, she has one thing to say.

“I love my job.”

She has been accepted to El Centro College nursing program and plans to start as soon as she finishes up her basics at TCC.

She won’t stop there, though. Allen wants to get additional education to become a certified registered nurse anesthetist.

Allen’s mom, a nurse, sparked her interest in nursing.

“I got to hear all of my mom’s stories about work growing up,” Allen said. “It was fascinating.”

All of the hard work she puts into her nursing degree does take away from other aspects of her life, though.

She used to watch at least 15 movies per week, but with working in the emergency room and studying for nursing she only gets to watch one or two a week.

“I’m kind of a movie buff,” Allen said. “My favorite movie is The Fifth Element because it’s got a little bit of action, drama and comedy all in one.”

Marielle Kochel

Despite the bone-chilling weather conditions, three friends decided to take a hike in the Black Hills area of South Dakota, yet SE student Marielle Kochel can still remember the mistake of treading on a slippery iced-over creek before she moved to Texas.

To them, the long and narrow path seemed safe to walk on, but about half-way across the bigger part of the creek, the ice began to shift under their feet, making crackling noises below, Kochel said.

“We all kind of walked at a faster pace, but not running so it [the ice] wouldn’t break any more,” she said. “But it kind of failed.”

As they tried to reach the rocky side of the other bank on the now-deteriorating pathway, a cry for help was heard.

“My friend, she kind of slowed down for something, or something was wrong with her. My other friend and I didn’t realize it and just kept walking and helped each other over the little boulders, and she started screaming ‘It’s so cold. It’s so cold.’ So we turn around and she was half-way in the water.”

As the ice formed an almost perfect hole around their soaked friend, the two rushed back to her side just as she almost lost her shoe in the water.

“We got her out successfully, and she had her shoe,” Kochel said. “But it kept cracking and we got our calves and shins wet [on the way back]. We pushed her over the boulders so she wouldn’t get more wet, so that’s good.”

After the three were back on dry land and over a year later, it became something Kochel could laugh about.

“My other friend wanted to keep going, but she started to freak out and was like, ‘My pants are wet. My underwear is wet. My shoes are wet. I’m not going anywhere,’” Kochel said as she laughed at the memory of her drenched friend. “So I gave her my pants, and I sadly took the wet ones, and she calmed down.”

The three tried to continue on their journey but didn’t make it due to cold feet. Avoiding the creek, Kochel said they simply decided to head back home.

Crystal Truby

Crystal Truby has learned the hard way about college life.

She began on the NW campus in the fall of 2005.

“I was a full-time student and working and was really enjoying my new freedom and life as a college student,” she said.

Truby began with her basic courses and after her first semester found an interest in nursing.
She began the prerequisite courses for the nursing program in spring 2006.

“The classes were hard, and it required a lot of study time and patience from me,” she said.

She ended the semester with D’s in her classes and was placed on academic probation.

“I couldn’t believe that I had let my grades slip so low, and I was very upset,”she said.

Truby became frustrated with herself and entered the fall semester with hesitation. She only took nine hours of classes that semester.

“I was angry at myself and really didn’t take time to figure out why I had done so terrible the semester before. I just jumped right back in, ” she said.

Truby ended the semester with a 2.0 GPA. It was not enough to pull her out of probation, and she was placed on academic suspension. Once on suspension, a student must sit out one year before returning to school.

“I was so embarrassed and mad at myself for letting it happen,” she said.

Truby began working full time and took time to focus on her mistakes.

She began taking an online course this spring.

“I’m starting off slow. Now that I’m able to return to TCC, I’m placed on academic probation and must work on getting my GPA to a 2.0,” she said.

Truby still hopes to pursue a degree in nursing but now knows the dedication and hard work she must put into each class.

“I learned the hard way and have definitely learned my lesson,” she said.

Douglas Anderson

Running from himself since high school, SE student Douglas Anderson has decided to sit back in a desk for the first time after 20 years.

Though he always wanted to attend college, Anderson was convinced he was the “classic underachiever.”

“When I pulled my transcripts, I even shocked myself with what I saw. I believe I had a low C at best,” he said. “So I was never really confident in school and as the years went by I kept coming up with an excuse each year as to why I couldn’t go.”

He used his status as a single father with a limited income as a way to keep him from the classroom. He said he needed to concentrate on work and provide for his children.

“Then as I became more successful in my career, I convinced myself that I wasn’t smart enough to go to college,” he said. “I was struggling with helping my daughters do seventh-grade algebra. There would be no way I could do college-level math.”

He also remembers helping his daughters with some of their English assignments and getting those wrong too.

“I ended up building this fear of college and accepted the fact that I would never go to college,” he said.

Now remarried and the father of a two-year old little girl, he said his wife and God inspired him to join school again.

“My wife was always telling me that I was very intelligent and that I was more than capable of going to college,” he said. “It really took a combination of her pushing me and listening to God that got me here.

“Besides all that, my two daughters attended TCC as well and between them and 3 years of schooling, they came home with 3 semester hours. So, I took their college funds and decided it was time for me to do something for me.”

Beth Keeton

First lieutenant Beth Keeton has been in the Army Reserves for nine years.

She chose to enlist as an alternative to college.

“At the time, I wasn’t doing very well in class, and it was something that would get me away from school and also pay for school when I got back,” Keeton said.

When she first enlisted she worked as a medic assigned to a military police company. She was deployed with them in 2003-2004 to Iraq. Previously, her only experience out of the country was a trip to Mexico.

In Iraq, Keeton learned that she was a strong individual, she said.

“It was educational. It was difficult,” she said. “I did a lot of growing up that year.

“There were things that I went through over there that I know I wouldn’t have been able to handle without the training.”

In 2005, Keeton finished her bachelor’s in behavioral science at Hardin Simmons University. Then in 2006, she commissioned and became an officer. Now she is in charge of medical plans.

“If the brigade gets an assignment I would be the one to look at the mission and decide what kind of medical assets are needed,” she said.

Currently, she works as a patient care technician at Texas Health Resources Harris Emergency Room and attends TCC. She is trying to get into the accelerated nursing program at UTA. Because she already has a bachelor’s, the program is a quick way for her to get in the nursing field, she said.

“I really get satisfaction out of improving people’s lives,” she said.

Keeton is keeping her options open though. She wants to get an assignment overseas and live in Europe.

“I’ve actually been thinking about trying to go back active duty,” she said.

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