Scholarship Recipient Profile: Violet Giese
If you compare the Violet Giese that first stepped foot on the campus of Lassen College as a freshman in fall of 2017 to the sophomore that will graduate this spring (2019), you will discover two very different young women. Giese was shy and quite reserved growing up just outside of Susanville, in the small community of Doyle. She wasn't into sports and never took part in extracurricular activities but instead focused a majority of her time on school and her family. When she wasn't attending Long Valley Charter School and studying medical terminology, she helped her parents care for her three little brothers, while also enjoying nature, photography and exploring the trails near her family home.
As she approached her high school graduation date, she knew she wasn't ready to head off to a four-year school just yet, and decided to begin her college career at Lassen College. She applied for and was awarded a scholarship from the Lassen College Foundation which covered her tuition and books. Giese took full advantage of her freshman year at LCC to adjust to college life. She moved out of her family home, where she had her own room, and into the dorms, where she gained not only a roommate, but a good friend. She began working for Cougar Athletics, and by the end of her freshman year, had decided to run for student trustee for the College Board of Trustees.
Giese's dad, Shaun, who served as president of the Board of Trustees for the last year until this past November (2018), always encouraged his daughter to let her voice be heard. He mentioned to her that there was an opening for the student trustee, but it wasn't until an employee from the Office of the President told her about the election and that no one was running, that she really put some thought into the position.
"I would share with my dad things he could say to the board and he'd tell me to go to the board meeting and tell them myself," said Giese. "I thought it might be fun and decided to go for it and run. I thought it would help me to overcome my shyness while allowing me to grow."
Giese ran unopposed and just a few months after she won the election, she was off to San Francisco for a conference to learn about serving as a student trustee, leadership, and teamwork. She had never been to San Francisco and barely been out of Lassen County. At the conference, she met trustees from community colleges all over the state of California and learned not only how to be an independent thinker but how to come together for a common goal. When she wasn't in sessions, she was able to explore the city on guided tours.
When Giese returned to Lassen in the fall, she hit the ground running with a new air of confidence. She admits her trip to San Francisco opened her eyes and mind to a whole new and bigger world. She felt humbled but thankful for the trip, that she considers a turning point in her young life. She decided to change her major from the Licensed Vocational Nursing (LVN) program to an Allied Health degree program, and was excited to put into motion what she had learned at the trustee workshop.
"I first became interested in nursing as a career while I was in high school," said Giese. "I remember reading a Joyce Meyer magazine and there was a part of the Bible in Matthew 25 that talked about how when we care for those who belong to Jesus it is like us treating Jesus himself. And in it, it talked about caring for others when they are sick."
Giese believes her time as a student trustee has made her more responsible because simply, it has given her more responsibility. Beyond attending meetings, taking notes and presenting to the board, she must connect with the student body, listen to ideas and concerns and offer resolutions or otherwise present to the Board for their attention. Through the process, she is shedding her timid layers, and is getting more and more comfortable speaking in front of people and engaging in conversation.
She admits her dad's presence helped ease her nervousness as she navigated her new position. Giese's dad, who is an alumnus of LCC, continues to serve as a board trustee at the college. They share a passion for helping the College and are both grateful for the opportunity to work together to help achieve Superintendent/President Dr. Marlon Hall's goal of making Lassen College the educational, economic, cultural, workforce, civil and social leader in the community.
This fall, with her Associate's Degree in hand and an anticipated final GPA of at least a 3.6, she will begin the next phase of her educational journey at a university and follow her dream of becoming a nurse. After that, she wants to learn more about the Bible and visit places in the world giving free medical care to poor people and telling them about Jesus. For now, Giese is content with her life at Lassen and continuing her journey of personal growth. She is grateful to the staff and the opportunity to serve her peers and the College. It's offered a way for Giese to give back while also receiving the confidence she needs to pursue her education after Lassen.
Scholarship Recipient Profile: Beth Marcotte
Beth Marcotte isn't your average gearhead. The Lassen College sophomore and 2017 Lassen College Foundation scholarship recipient is not only a lover of cars, she's a fixer of them as well. Growing up, she had an open invitation from her dad and older brother into the garage and was happy to help them on their projects on various cars and trucks.
"They never forced me to help them … I always enjoyed doing it," said Marcotte. "All of my family loves muscle cars, so I was raised in that environment and developed a passion and love for muscle cars, like the '69 Chevy Camaro, early on. My first time going to Hot August Nights in Reno is when I truly fell in love with them."
Marcotte, a 2017 graduate of Herlong High School, recalls her first memories of working on cars. She started with changing the oil and tires on her family's truck, a vehicle she still works on and drives today. As she entered high school, she had to get accustomed to being the only girl in any of her auto classes. In the beginning, she said it was a bit odd and polarizing but by the end of her high school career, she was friends and worked well with all of her male classmates. She was steadfast in never letting anyone's judgement bother her. She simply proved that she knew was she was doing but doing what she loved.
As Marcotte was preparing for college with a focus on the automotive industry, her choice as to where to further her education was obvious. She had made several campus visits to LCC, and both of her parents and several family members had attended Lassen.
"The Automotive program is definitely one of the best offered in the Northern California area," said Marcotte. "Not only was I able to work on earning two degrees as once, an Associates of Automotive Technology and an Associate's of Natural Science. I was also able to play volleyball, another love of mine. I didn't think I would be able to play after I graduated high school so I was very happy that I could continue my career as a Lady Cougar."
"Playing on the college team has really taught me how to work well with anyone no matter how different they are from me," said Marcotte. "On my volleyball team at Lassen, hardly anyone knew each other before the summer practices started, but by the end of the summer, we were already family. It's honestly helped me a lot doing any group project or anything related to working with someone.
She added, "It's also helped me learn to manage my time better. In high school, I didn't have nearly as busy of a schedule. But when I came to LCC, I took 18 units and played volleyball, so I had to learn how to effectively manage everything without losing too much sleep. Honestly, it was so much fun even though I was busy, there was never a dull moment."
Based on her passion for not only cars but competition, it's really no surprise that she earned a 4.0 GPA in her freshman year at LCC and her favorite class is any auto class she's ever taken. Her professor at Lassen, Chad Lewis, also taught her auto classes in high school and middle school and she feels that helped with her transition into college.
After graduating from LCC this spring (2019), Marcotte plans to attend the University of Nevada-Reno and obtain her Master's Degree in Automotive Engineering. Tesla, which opened a plant in Sparks (NV), has partnered with UNR and offers an on-the-job mentoring program through Tesla for engineering majors. One of Marcotte's career goals is to work at Tesla as an engineer and she hopes this would open a door when she graduates. She is also interested in owning her own auto shop.
But for now, Marcotte is focused on her last year at Lassen, where she has access to a variety of automotive classes that will prepare her to work at almost every automotive shop across the nation.
"Lassen is probably one of the only colleges that would offer the opportunity to follow both of my passions, volleyball and cars, without interfering with one another or forcing me to choose," said Marcotte. "I couldn't ask for anything more to make my experience better. All of my professors, counselors and coaches have been extremely understanding, supportive and making sure I succeed in my path throughout and beyond college."
Scholarship Recipient Profile: Elizabeth Fernandez
When Elizabeth Fernandez decided to attend Lassen Community College following her high school graduation, she was undecided about what she wanted to study and also a bit hesitant to leave home. The 2011 Lassen Union High School graduate was hoping her time at LCC would expose her to new ideas and create new experiences that would inspire her toward a certain career path.
As the only child of a single mother, she was determined to earn her degree by paying for her education on her own. Fernandez received several scholarships that helped her pay for her education at Lassen. Although she changed her major three times in two years, it allowed her the time to find her passion for Art History, in which she earned an associate’s degree. She also earned two more associate’s degrees in General Studies and University Studies.
During her time at LCC, she participated in student government, both locally and at the state level, by serving as a student senator for the Student Senate of California Community Colleges (SSCCC). She was a student senator for two years before transferring to the University of California at Davis in the fall of 2014.
“Being involved in student government at the college level is an experience that still helps me today,” said Fernandez. “Without meeting the various students and learning their stories, I don’t think I would be as passionate in helping others realize their goals as I am now.”
Fernandez also participated in the Extended Opportunity Employment & Services (EOP&S) program at Lassen College that offered academic and support counseling, financial aid and other support services.
At UC Davis, she studied Art History and graduated in the spring of this year with a Bachelor of Arts in Art History and Italian, with a minor in Native American Studies.
Fernandez is currently working as an Administrative Support Assistant for California Indian Manpower Consortium, Inc., or CIMC, Inc., a non-profit organization that helps Native Americans, Native Alaskans, and Native Hawaiians find employment, and provide other support assistance.
She plans on adding a few years of job experience to her resume and then attending graduate school, where she wants to pursue her other passion, Native art and artifacts with a focus on the effect museum exhibitions have on the art and artifacts.
Fernandez credits the support of her family and friends, specifically that of her mom, stating, “It has been me and my mom forever, and she has always supported me and where I wanted to go. She is such a strong, independent woman that I have looked up to all my life, and I know without her unconditional support and love I wouldn’t be the person that I am today, or at the place I am.”