Amy Rapp was in a serious car accident in high school that changed her plans for college, and because of that, also changed her life's direction.
Amy was attending Central Catholic and planning to start college right away at a four-year school. After her accident, she decided to ease into things slowly with a summer class at RACC. "I thought I could save some money, get a major that I wanted and leave after a semester," she said. "But, I ended up really liking it."
One of the things that influenced Amy was the Raven Ambassador program where students can work with the Admissions Office to help new students adjust to RACC. The Ambassadors attend New Student Orientation, Open House and other special admissions events.
"My high school guidance counselor suggested that I look into it, and I actually interviewed for it in May when I was still in high school," said Amy, who started as an Ambassador her first summer at RACC. "I did something similar in high school and I loved working with people and being involved on campus.
"Here at RACC, I got to know professors and faculty got to know me. I learned my way around campus and the website more than I ever probably would have as a regular student," she added.
Almost three years later, Amy, now 21, is still working as an ambassador and has spent the last two years as the program's intern. This gave her a chance to make the schedules for the other ambassadors and even run meetings when their advisor is not available.
As her job responsibility has shifted and grown, so have her plans for the future.
Amy arrived at RACC with an interest in elementary/early childhood education. She had spent her high school summers working for the Exeter playground program, where they would take younger kids on field trips, out to bowl or host a movie night. Amy also helped coach kids in the Exeter basketball league that she played in growing up.
"I learned to have a lot of patience," Amy said of her experiences with the league. "The kids were all at different levels. Some had never set foot on a basketball court and others had been playing for years, but they all got to play and we taught them everything they needed to know from dribbling to shooting and the rules." Amy was taking her early childhood classes at the former Education Laboratory Center at RACC, but just felt like something wasn't right.
"The field of teaching wasn't exactly what I was looking for," she said. "I liked working with kids but I wanted to do something that would make more of an impact and be more hands-on.
"The idea first started when I watched the movie Freedom Writers. Then when I was doing the basketball league, there were 80 kids and certain parents who came to watch and other parents who never came. It started me thinking that I want to be able to help kids who didn't have the best family support system," Amy continued.
Amy changed her major to Social Work and is taking advantage of the Dual Admissions program, which provides a seamless transfer opportunity with Alvernia University. "Once I started taking the classes I really liked them," she said. "It confirmed that I picked the right major."
While Amy will be able to use some of the skills she learned as an ambassador in her new career, she said she will also rely on her experiences with the Leadership Program. In two years with the program, Amy attended workshops and weekend retreats. "I learned how to work with people, how good leaders work with a group and listen to other people. How maybe your own idea is not always the best," she said.
As Amy prepares for the next leg of her educational journey at Alvernia, she thanks RACC and the difference the instructors here made for her. "The teachers here took the time to get to know me and help me find the best fit for me," she said.