TVCC Science Student Success Spotlight

Introducing TVCC alum Michelle Rucker

The science department faculty are very proud of our students. We wanted to tell some of their stories and show where their educational journey has taken them. We will feature a different student every quarter. Be sure to check back and see how far dreams can take you and what a great foundation you can get at Treasure Valley Community College!!

Michelle Rucker

Michelle Rucker, Vale, OR
AAOT Treasure Valley Community College June 2007
B.Sc. University of Oregon (Geological Science) June 2010

1. When did you attend TVCC?
I attended TVCC in 2004 and graduated in June 2007.

2. How/Why did you choose TVCC?
The proximity of the college primarily. I started the 2 year college for general education with the intentions to transfer to a university.

3. What was your experience like (academically/socially)?
Academically very good because of the small class sizes, which seems like a cliché for community colleges but it is a real privilege to have the one on one accessibility with your instructors.

4. What degree did you earn at TVCC?
An Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer Degree (AAOT).

5. Where did you transfer to?
University of Oregon in Eugene. Go Ducks.

6. Did you feel prepared?
Yes. I had great science courses here. Bill [the previous geology instructor] had a broad knowledge of the local geology, having worked outside of academia in the area. It was helpful for him to bring this perspective into the classroom. There were also a lot of great field trips! I had opportunities for day and multiday trips with well structured, hands on experience. Bill even assisted in finding a local internship that suited my interests. TVCC provided the courses and guidance that I needed to transfer seamlessly to UO.

7. How was the transfer process?
All credits, with the AAOT degree were transferred with no problems. The AAOT is a great option for those looking to transfer in state.

8. What degree did you earn at your transfer institution?
A Bachelor of Science in Geological Science.

9. Do you think your education was worthwhile? (you can elaborate)
Yes! Overall, it is not just the subject matter but the process higher education. There are really two sides: to have a knowledge of your subject, and also the foundational skills to succeed, the methods and the thought process. 

10. Any thoughts or advice you would give someone beginning the process? What worked well? What would you do differently? What was your key to success? (what helped you be a successful student?)
Stick to it! Understand what you want out of the experience and seek the opportunities. Geology specific - in the introductory courses, try to appreciate the content on a larger scale. It can be easy to get lost in the details and overlook the big picture.

11. Where are you today? What are you doing/working? What are your goals and aspirations?
After my B.Sc. at UO I worked as a Well Site Geologist for Weatherford International out of Midland, Texas. I later moved to Fort Collins, Colorado to pursue similar work. Most recently I worked with Solazyme, which is a biotech company based out of San Francisco that manipulates microalgae to produce oils and fuels. I worked with a branch that created an environmentally safe lubricant to be used in oilfield drilling. I was recently hired on as a Research Assistant to Dr. Bob Downs at University of Arizona working on the Carbon Mineral Evolution Project/RRUFF database. It’s pretty cool big picture stuff!