Lauren Martin

Lauren Martin wasn’t sure what she wanted to do when she first came to TCC, but now she believes teaching is her calling.

“It does sound cheesy, but I feel that way,” she said. “You don’t become a teacher because you want money. You become a teacher because it’s what you want to do.”

Last year, Martin worked in the Eagle Mountain-Saginaw school district as a library aide, but was transferred to a Life Skills class due to budget cuts and soon realized she loved working with kids in a formal setting.

Martin will transfer to Tarleton State University soon. She said she eventually wants to teach elementary school.

“I enjoy what I do now, but general education is what I enjoy most,” she said. “If you want to make a difference, that’s where you need to be before they get to the courtroom.”

-Rhiannon Saegert


Jennifer Sam


Jennifer Sam attended college on and off in the past, but now she’s decided on the best path for herself and her two children.

“Personally, I don’t feel a bachelor’s degree is worth the debt,” she said. “If I’m going back to school, it’s going to be for something worthwhile.”

She plans to transfer to the University of North Texas to earn a business degree but hasn’t decided what kind of business degree would be the most practical. She hopes to own her own business in the future.

“I figure I’ll have my own business in dentistry, so that’s why I chose business,” she said.

Sam said she’s confident in her decisions and only concerns herself with following her plan.

“If I’m on the path I’m supposed to be on and if I stay focused, there shouldn’t be any concerns,” she said.

-Rhiannon Saegert

Jennifer Wydick


Jennifer Wydick decided to become a physical therapist’s assistant after her roller-blading accident turned out to be a positive experience.

“I injured my knee when I was 12 and had to go to physical therapy for a while,” she said. I just saw it as a really fun environment. Everyone was always joking around, but they were so helpful. They also gave me a lot of cookies.”

Wydick said her physical therapists helped her cope with her injury as well as her personal issues.

“I was bullied a lot in middle school, and my parents were also going through a divorce,” she said. “That’s tough for any kid.”

Wydick works full time but is steadily working toward her degree.

“I’m going to help injured people walk someday,” she said.

Rhiannon Saegert

Mark Penland

IMG_2072Twenty years ago, Mark Penland started working for TCC as a student assistant in the photography department during his first semester.

He went on to complete his bachelor of fine arts and was offered a position as an instructional associate on the NE Campus.

Penland said one of the most important things he has learned came from Peter Feresten, who founded the photography department.

“’To teach is to learn.’ I feel like I never stop learning,” Penland said.

Penland is also a thrifty vegetarian. He said he never buys anything new except food or underwear.

For the past five years, Penland has not owned a car. He rides a bicycle every day to and from work to run errands and buy groceries accumulating 150 miles weekly.

When it comes to food, he said, “I’ve been a lifelong vegetarian. I grew up in the country, and I grew up around animals.  I knew a lot of animals experience a lot of fear before they die, and I think there is plenty of fear on the planet, and I don’t want to add to it.”

Elyssa Whaley

Amity Womelsdorff

IMG_2175Excited to help students, Amity Womelsdorff has worked in student activities since 2008.

She began her career in a work-study program on NE campus and a few semesters later was hired part time.  In 2011, she became a full-time student development associate.

Womelsdorff helps with answering questions students may have and helps them find out where they need to be.

“We’re here to help,” she said. “If you’re not sure where to get an answer, we may not know, but we know who to call.”

Womelsdorff has aided in the development of the student government association as well as starting the new Student Leadership Academy.  The program includes support in organizational skills, cultural competence and mentoring.

“I like to help with things, and even though initiating new programs can be overwhelming, at the same time they allow us to create new policies,” Womelsdorff said.

When she is not working in student activities, Womelsdorff said she enjoys reading about anthropology and history and studies astrology.

— Elyssa Whaley

Ryan Sewell

RyanSewellNeuroscience intrigues NE student Ryan Sewell to pursue becoming a doctor.

“My mothers’ has had debilitating migraines all of her life,” Sewell said. ” I see that there’s this field that’s really interesting to me. We don’t know much about this field, and I see a lot of opportunity,”

Sewell himself is not unfamiliar with a serious medical condition. At the top of his game in competitive rock climbing, he was 16 years old on a rock climbing trip in Colorado, when he had contracted hantavirus pulmonary syndrome a serious virus with a 50 percent survival rate.

He was put on a ventilator for assisted breathing and placed in intensive care unit. In total, he spent three weeks in the hospital. He recovered but had to regain his strength and ability back on the rocks.

Before college, Sewell has competed in national and world cup mountain climbing.  He now works in a Dallas rock climbing gym teaching youth competitive rock climbing.

“I don’t feel like I’m doing anything if I’m not helping anyone,” Sewell said.

After TCC, he is transferring to the University of Texas at Dallas to major in biology and focus on a neuroscience program as pre-med.

— Elyssa Whaley

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