Young CNCC duo seeks to reach diverse student group | CraigDailyPress.com

Young CNCC duo seeks to reach diverse student group

Michael Neary

Desiree Moore

— When Desiree Moore moved to Craig about six years ago, she decided to check out the offerings of Colorado Northwestern Community College. She already had a family, and she wasn't sure that college was for her.

"I just remember," she said, "after that first paper I turned in, wondering, 'Is this going to be good enough? Are there going to be red pen marks all over this?' I was so unsure of myself, and just building that self-confidence was my biggest obstacle."

Now, Moore, 26, has graduated from CNCC and completed her bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary liberal arts from Colorado State University. She's pursuing her master's degree in humanities from Tiffin University in Ohio.

In her new position at CNCC, she's helping other people who might face uncertainties similar to those she once faced. She's just started her job as director of community education and summer programs at the college. Previously, she served as an admissions representative there.

On Thursday, Moore sat down outside her office and reflected on her work with Kirstie McPherson, 22, who just begun a job of her own as the college's interim marketing director.

Moore succeeds Mary Morris in her position, and McPherson succeeds Jeff Stoddard in hers. Both women praised their predecessors.

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"I like marketing, because it lets me be bold and creative and strategic all at the same time," said McPherson, who graduated from Montana Tech of the University of Montana, in Butte, in May, with degrees in management and marketing.

Moore and McPherson, both in their 20s, don't have to reach back far to recall the things they needed to thrive as students. Moore described the way she often finds herself looking at plans from the student's perspective.

"What does the experience look like to the student?" she asked. "When you put out a certain message, how does the student receive it?"

McPherson noted the way her position demands looking through the eyes of others.

"Any time you're in a marketing position, you always have to put yourself in the shoes of the consumer," she said.

McPherson and Moore also noted the wide array of student backgrounds they encounter. Ages may vary greatly, ranging well beyond that of a traditional college student.

"It's not just one target audience," Moore said, also noting the varied ethnic and economic backgrounds of students.

As Moore described her work, she contemplated some ideas she'd like to pursue. She noted that she'd like to see more "college for kids" offerings, and she also mentioned some possible themes for summer camps, such as computer coding and community gardening. She said she'd like to start a community theater, as well.

McPherson stressed her role of reaching out to the larger community.

"I'm a big fan of sponsorships," McPherson said. "That's where a lot of my focus has always been because that helps build a lot of, community ties and a lot of relationships that are important."

Moore said that a big part of her job involves sparking those students who might have some doubts about college to ponder the possibility that college is for them.

"We're encouraging a certain population of students who normally do not choose to go to college," she said. "We're showing them that college is actually something that they can do."

That sort of encouragement is especially important, she said, for prospective students who don't have close relationships with adults who have attended college.

"If you don't have any mentors who have gone through it already, then you're much less likely to go through it yourself," she said.

Reach Michael Neary at 970-875-1794 or mneary@CraigDailyPress.com.