Waukon High School graduate and NICC student gets great head start on college and career goals

Cassidy Byrnes ...
Cassidy Byrnes ...

Achieving academic and career success requires of high school students an openness to learning new things, and a knack for balancing demanding work and school commitments. One local student, Cassidy Byrnes, is just as determined and sees her hard work paying off.

Byrnes had already completed 32 college credits before graduating from Waukon High School in 2019. She will earn an Associate of Arts degree from Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) this May, transfer to University of Northern Iowa and arrive on campus in Cedar Falls as a junior. She participated in the Career Learning Link program through NICC to focus her career goals. Three scholarships also supported her college education: the Allamakee Scholarship Fund and the Northeast Iowa Community College Loyalty Scholarship and Opportunity Scholarship.

“I will be graduating from Northeast Iowa Community College in spring 2020 and have been accepted to UNI where I plan to major in social science education and minor in English education. I will have third-year status going into UNI!” Byrnes expressed. “I’m amazed at the scholarships I received. Although I was not at the top of my graduating class, if you put in the work, apply for scholarships, volunteer as much as you can and just make connections in the community, it gives back.”

Determined and persistent students with clear academic and career goals tend to perform better in college, explained Erica Nosbisch, NICC Waukon Center director. “Cassidy really worked hard to identify, with her academic advisor, the courses at NICC that would transfer into her four-year degree at UNI. Students also gain useful insights by participating in Career Learning Link. Job shadowing, business tours and mentoring opportunities through the program teach students what a particular career is really like,” said Nosbisch.

The success of high school students in Allamakee County is furthered by the good relationship established between Northeast Iowa Community College, high schools, the Waukon Center and businesses, added Wendy Mihm-Herold, Ph.D., NICC vice president of business and community solutions.

“We work together and share the skillsets and knowledge high school graduates need to have, to be successful in their careers and make an impact on businesses in Allamakee County. Business leaders are especially critical to our efforts because these companies are local and passionate about investing our area’s future workforce,” said Mihm-Herold.

The NICC Waukon Center is an invaluable resource for students as they enroll in college credit courses and explore potential careers. Located across the street from Waukon High School, the center is convenient for students, by offering access to online and face-to-face college credit courses, admissions information, course registration, placement testing, financial aid assistance and academic advising. Success Coaches at the center provide the one-on-one attention students may need to help guide their career path and to select the NICC program most suited for their goals.

Concurrent enrollment agreements between the College and high schools in northeast Iowa support students’ future academic and career goals. From 2018-2019, the Waukon Center served 147 high school students who enrolled in 822 college credits.

For more information on services offered through the NICC Waukon Center, visit www.nicc.edu/waukon or contact Nosbisch, center director, at 844-642-2338, ext. 6700.

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