Meet WCCC Graduates

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Meet Kacey Abbott, '13

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Sous Chef, Jax Fish House.
AAS, Culinary Arts

What do you do on a day-to-day basis?

On a day to day basis, I am in the restaurant at noon and out at midnight. No matter if I'm the MOD for the day, working the grill, saute or pantry station, I am always pushing my staff to be the best they can be. Every day I am coaching them, whether it’s on how to work efficiently or how to properly sear a scallop. I am an active participant in our seasonal menu development and day to day dinner specials. We do fresh seafood orders every single day from oysters to whole salmon. I break down whatever fish we get in for the day to 5 oz portions for our dishes and keep track of our protein yields. I call tickets to the line, plate, finish dishes and sell the food. I hang out on the expo line any chance I get to make sure our food is going out exactly how we want it to. Not to be biased, (maybe a little), but I’d say Jax Fish House is the best restaurant in Fort Collins as we hold our entire team to some pretty high expectations.

How did your experience at WCCC prepare you for your career?

My experience at WCCC prepared me for my career by teaching me how to be a team player. During my time in the culinary program, I spent a lot of my time as a part of a team; from day one we worked in groups. Two of my three years were spent on competing and training with Chef Jon and five others.  Therefore I learned that working in a kitchen, you are always relying on your teammates to help you succeed, just as much as they are relying on you.

What was your transition like from being a student to your current career position?

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The people and instructors at WCCC made my experience so much fun; I honestly wish I could have spent a couple more years at WCCC. Seeing the classes and program kept developing after I was done, makes me wish I could have gotten a few more of the classes under my belt. Overall, I think my transition was rather easy. I learned so much and was prepared to come into the real world. The skills I learned in the program impressed many of the people I came across. WCCC's culinary arts program allowed me to get one on one time with the instructors and Chefs. Because of this, I believe that I developed and got more out of my time there than others coming from a different culinary program.

What do you think set you apart from the other applicants for your current position? 

I started at Jax as a pantry cook in December 2015. I quickly impressed my chef at the time with my ability to learn quickly, product knowledge, sense of urgency and passion for putting in time and hard work. Within a few months at Jax, I worked and learned every station. By summer 2016 I was promoted to kitchen manager and the sous chef by March 2017. The head chef knew how hard I worked and how much I cared, this led to him always wanting me to be the line cook on weekends, busy holidays and special events. WCCC definitely helped me become the chef I am today.

What advice would you give to incoming college students?

I would recommend taking full advantage of the time your instructors provides for questions or advice. Those guys work so hard and care so much about their students and our success that they will never turn you away and will always make time to help you. Keep all your cookbooks required for classes as they will always come in handy later. Consider the WCCC Culinary competition team. You won’t get that sort of knowledge out of any of your classes.

Meet Jennifer Robinson, '17

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Registered Medical Assistant, Western Slope Cardiology 
AAS, Medical Office Assistant

What do you do on a day-to-day basis?

At the beginning of the day, I log into my electronic medical record (EMR) and select my schedule based on the doctors or nurse practitioners I’m assigned to. I look at all the appointment types for the day to determine whether the patients will need EKG’s, vitals or device (pacemaker) checks. I build a note template for each appointment. Next, I check to see if any tasks or prescriptions need to be completed for my assigned doctors. 

As patients come into the office, I escort them from the waiting room to the exam room. At this time, I take vital signs and use the EMR system to update the patient's chart with information such as any hospitalizations, allergies, medications and vaccines. Next, I will perform an EKG or hook the patient up to the appropriate pacemaker machine. 

In our office, visits are scheduled 30 minutes or an hour apart. In between visits, I complete various clinical and administrative tasks. 

How did your experience at WCCC prepare you for your career?

The education I received in the classroom and the hands-on experience at WCCC's lab was everything I needed to prepare for my current position. The lab allowed us to practice procedures like EKG’s, specimen collection and autoclaving (sterilizing tools) until we felt confident enough to perform the task in a clinical setting. The classes prepared me for administrative duties like prior authorizations and scheduling. The classes also gave me clinical knowledge of pharmacology and medical terminology. 

What was your transition like from being a student to your current career position?

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The medical assisting program made the transition from being a student to a working medical assistant very easy. Each student completes an externship at the end of the program. Most of the time, these clinics are looking to hire. I was an extern at Western Slope Cardiology for about a month before they offered me a full time, paying position. During the externship, we met in class once a week to discuss anything we thought necessary with classmates and professors. 

What do you think set you apart from the other applicants for your current position? 

I think my previous experience in the medical field and my positive attitude set me apart from other applicants. I showed up to my externship every day with a smiling face and grateful heart. I was able to show them how much of a hard worker I was during these few weeks. Going above and beyond what was asked of me really made a difference. 

What advice would you give to incoming college students?

Network, network, network! Everyone you meet in the medical field is a potential employer or coworker. Make strong connections with people and ask for phone numbers or emails as you will need good references for a job in the medical field. 

Meet Brian Adams, '18

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Owning Partner, Grand Junction Farmstead
AAS, Sustainable Agriculture

What do you do on a day-to-day basis?

I am fortunate enough to spend my days outside working to regenerate the land while growing nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables for the Grand Valley community to enjoy. From starting seeds in the greenhouse to selling our produce at farmer's markets to producing compost for the next round of plantings, playing in the fields is how I spend most of my days. 

How did your experience at WCCC prepare you for your career?

The Sustainable Agriculture program at WCCC has relationships with many local farmers and ranchers. This connection provided me with great insight into the agricultural community around the Grand Valley. The hands-on experiences and knowledgeable staff brought reality into the classroom.

What was your transition like from being a student to your current career position? 

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After spending an internship working in the field, the transition to full-time employment on our farm was smooth. I knew what to expect when arriving full-time at Green Junction Farmstead.

What advice would you give to incoming college students?

The learning opportunities are yours for the taking. Enjoy the relationships, savor the diversity, and always challenge yourself to keep things fresh and adventurous.

Calling All Alumni

Are you a recent CMU or WCCC graduate now working in the field you studied? If you'd like to be featured, please contact the marketing office at marketing@coloradomesa.edu.