Denise Elliott came to RACC in the fall of 2007, straight out of Twin Valley High School, knowing she wanted to be a high school chemistry teacher. Fast forward almost six years and she is now the marketing coordinator at one of the largest brick manufacturing companies in the country.
So, what happened?
Denise opted to start her college career at RACC for the same reason as many other students – to save money. She also had a head start on saving money as a recipient of the Berks County Commissioner's President's Scholarship.
But, soon after starting classes, she came to realize she did not like math and adjusted her career plans to be a biology teacher instead. "Then eventually I decided I didn't want to teach at all after taking two education courses," she said.
Denise, now 24, admits she had a mini crisis when she discovered that she had no career plan and no idea what she wanted to do. What she did know is that she wanted to transfer to Alvernia University after RACC, so she started visiting the Transfer Center. Denise said Sonia Delaquito, now the Director of Student Support and Campus Life, mentored her and helped her find a new path.
"She directed me to resources that RACC offered, like the Career Center and even set up an appointment for me to take a career test," said Denise, who lives in Birdsboro. "After the test, I determined that I liked computers so I graduated from RACC with a Liberal Arts degree and transferred into Alvernia's Computer Information Systems program."
In addition to taking classes at RACC, Denise was also working 20-30 hours a week at a medical billing office to help pay for college. She wanted to continue her job after graduating from RACC, which meant she only considered local four-year colleges so she could commute. Denise settled on Alvernia and a double major of Computer Information Systems and Communications.
"I was so crazy about making sure I took the correct classes at RACC because I wanted every class to count," Denise said. "That's how I was able to double major and still graduate on time."
Denise earned her bachelor's degree in May 2011 and started a Master's in Business Administration Program – also at Alvernia – just two days later. Alvernia is also where she discovered her interest in marketing, by working in the university's marketing department first as a work study and then as a graduate assistant.
Towards the end of the MBA program, Denise discovered the open Marketing Coordinator position at Glen-Gery Corporation.
"Since I had an obligation to Alvernia to work 20 hours per week until graduation, Glen-Gery hired me part- time for six weeks until I graduated," Denise said. "Being a graduate assistant meant that I had to work for the school for 20 hours each week while taking a minimum of three courses at a time. If I would have stopped working for them, I would then be responsible for paying for the three courses that I was still enrolled in."
In her role with Glen-Gery, Denise coordinates production and distribution of marketing literature and other support material, and also manages social media and email communication platforms and the website.
"I basically do a little bit of everything within marketing for Glen-Gery," she said. "I work with a small group of people in the department which really makes for a personal atmosphere. We all get along extremely well and work great together as a team."
Just a few months removed from her MBA degree, Denise said she still keeps in close touch with Sonia and said she appreciates the guidance she offered, "I spent many hours in her office in my two years at RACC. Without Sonia, I'm not sure where I would be today!"