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Susan O'larickRogue Scholar on the road to a career in science

Joseph Kosct’s passion for science has led him on a journey toward a new career as a materials scientist.

Kosct, who never completed high school and only recently earned a GED®, set off on his road to success with the help of the Rogue Community College Foundation, which awarded him the Rogue Scholars Scholarship.

The $2,500 scholarship is given annually to the top-scoring applicant among those seeking RCC Foundation scholarships. Funds for the award are provided in their entirety by the RCC Foundation Board.

“Having never completed high school was like a dark cloud hanging over my head,” Kosct said in his scholarship essay. “The contradiction I felt, telling my children how important education was, having never completed the process myself, was unbearable.”

As a single parent, witnessing his 19-year-old daughter earn her GED® was one of the proudest moments in Kosct’s life. It also helped lead him back to school.

“I have to admit learning how to sit still for hours at a time was a challenge at first,” said Kosct, who worked in the construction industry from 1988 to 2011. But by employing the same effort he put into construction, “showing up on time and doing what was in front of me,” he earned a GED® in fall 2011, achieving scores that placed him in the top 2 percent in the nation.

After completing his GED®, Kosct began working towards an Associate of Arts degree at RCC with the aim of transferring to Southern Oregon University. At SOU, he plans to enroll in the materials science bachelor’s degree program, which integrates physics, chemistry, mathematics, and engineering.

Kosct has been interested in science since his early youth. As an adult, he combined his passion for problem solving with a gift for creative thinking, and with his construction skills, “helped others to see their dreams become reality.” He hopes those skills, combined with his education, will lead him to be successful in a new capacity.

“I will be able to use these tools to help advance scientific areas such as recycling, nanotechnology and fuel alternatives - the possibilities are endless!”

Kosct says he’s learned he can accomplish whatever he sets out to do.

“I am capable of reaching any goal I put my mind to,” he explained, “remembering that a person can eat an elephant by simply taking one bite at a time.”