Althea Godfrey and Faculty member Jackie Lien
Althea finding a new future both personally and professionally.
Althea Godfrey believes that the Bright Futures program at Rogue Community College is well named.
The program’s instructors helped Godfrey clarify her goals and rebuild self-awareness and confidence during a stressful time in life. This fall she begins the Ph.D. program in social science at the University of Colorado.
But back in 2007, Godfrey found herself stranded at one of life’s crossroads, not knowing how to move forward personally or professionally.
Her marriage had recently ended, and Godfrey, a journalist who had written gardening columns and edited the Medford Mail Tribune’s Home Life magazine since 2004, had doubts about the profession’s sustainability.
“I saw newspaper writing was not a stable future,” she recalled. So in April 2007, Godfrey enrolled in the Bright Futures program at RCC’s Riverside Campus hoping to get a sense of direction.
One of two RCC Discovery programs (the Grants Pass counterpart is Moving On), Bright Futures offers classes and activities that provide support and career guidance for parents, displaced homemakers, and students who are returning to their education after an extended absence.
Godfrey said the program’s resources, which include personality, skills and preference inventories and essay writing, were very effective.
“The Bright Futures process wasn’t superficial. They asked questions I wasn’t expecting. It was so thorough and efficient,” said Godfrey. “Bright Futures guides you not only in investigating potential careers out in the world but also asks you to look deeply within yourself.”
Wanting to combine past experiences and abilities with her deep love of nature, Godfrey set her sights on environmental and social science studies.
“The other helpful aspect of Bright Futures was to address strengths and weaknesses and areas to improve,” she noted. “That was really helpful because I was in a very stressful part of my life. Going through the process with a cohort was helpful. Even though our lives were vastly different, there were certain similarities. All of us were at transition points and needed support.”
Staff members were all helpful, she recalled, with instructor Jackie Lien serving in a mentorship role.
“Jackie has a focused strength and keeps everyone on task,” Godfrey said. “And she has a caring attitude but is able to help hold people accountable. She was a role model for me as we are at similar stages of life.”
Bright Futures staff also helped Godfrey apply \ to Southern Oregon University,\ where she completed a bachelor’s degree in sociology, graduating summa cum laude in 2009.
“Bright Futures opened all these doors for me,” Godfrey explained. “It was the first step, and I needed that encouragement.” Faculty members convinced Godfrey to persevere, and it paid off. “When I went to SOU, I was definitely picturing myself in cap and gown.”
This fall Godfrey will begin the Ph.D. program in sociology at University of Colorado at Boulder, where she’s received a teaching assistantship and tuition waiver. She is positive, excited and optimistic about her future.“I’m interested in how people understand and interact with the environment, and how gardens and parks create meaning for people and influence how they think about wildlife,” she said. “I can’t wait to be a social scientist.”
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