Monday, October 20, 2014

Getting to Know: Student Success Coach Brian Ogle



I    In an effort to help students from enrollment to graduation Germanna Community College has launched a new Student Success Coach Program. The coaches will stay with students all the way through their time at Germanna, giving them the help they need to succeed in college and in life.
We'll meet each of the coaches in a series of Q&A profiles--Student Success Coach Brian Ogle works with students at the Fredericksburg Area Campus in Spotsylvania.
Brian Ogle

·   Where are you from?
I grew up in Williamsburg, VA. I came up to Fredericksburg in 2004 when I started college at the University of Mary Washington, and I loved Fredericksburg so much I decided to stay. I now live in South Stafford, a few minutes away from downtown.

·   Where did you go to high school and college?
I went to high school at Lafayette High, then attended the University of Mary Washington starting in 2004. I graduated in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, and I am happy to say I use my degree every day!

·    How long have you worked at Germanna?
I started part-time in November 2010 with the Dual Enrollment program, an opportunity that allowed me to explore many different areas of the College. That evolved into a full-time position and through that experience I learned just how cool it is to work in higher education, as well as gained an appreciation for Germanna’s goal to expand access to educational opportunities.

·     What do you like about working at Germanna? 
The people. I am very privileged to work with a group of compassionate, intelligent, and committed employees. Our students are inspiring, coming from all walks of life but sharing in common their goal to advance their education. As a Coach I get to work directly with students to empower them with skills for life-long learning—it’s incredibly fulfilling.

·   What’s the biggest challenge you face in your job?
Un-jamming the copiers! I seem to have a knack for causing jams, and am far less skilled in resolving them.

·   What’s your advice for Germanna students?
Please, check your student email. We want our students to become actively engaged in our campus community, and the first step toward that goal is tuning in to student email. In college I benefited tremendously from my involvement outside of the classroom—in campus clubs, guest lectures, and special events. I hope to share that with our students.

·  For students graduating from high school and thinking about college?
I hope students come out of high school with a hunger to learn more, attend college to gain a more worldly perspective, and upon graduating from college are inspired to become a contributing world citizen. Sometimes high school students think of college as the next destination after high school, but it should be a journey that inspires personal growth. College is what you make of it!

·   For older students thinking about returning to college?
It’s never too late! Here at Germanna we serve many adult students, and many of our employees attended college as adults. We can relate to older students who may be attending school part-time, working full-time, and are supporting a family, and we welcome every learner into our campus community.

·     What misconception does the public have about community colleges and community college students?
Having spent many evenings at recruiting events, I’ve heard many different takes on community colleges from students, parents, and community members. Some think we only offer job training, others don’t know that our credit courses transfer to four-year colleges/universities, or that we exist merely to serve “under-achieving” students. Of course, that’s not true, so I always confront those misconceptions with a simple statement: through Virginia’s community colleges, students can start anywhere and go anywhere. We specialize in meeting students where they are, and act as a springboard to success, empowering them to reach their goals.

·     Are you married and do you have children?
My partner and I share our house with four furry friends—two dogs and two cats.


·     Fun fact about you?
Here are a couple: I am part of the approximately 10% of the world’s population who are left-handed.
When I graduated from college, I had hair down to my shoulders. After a bad haircut before a job interview that summer, I decided to cut my own hair and have done so ever since. You may have already noticed!
I’ve played the guitar for half my life, and my most prized possession is an acoustic guitar my Dad made. I have a life goal to learn this skill from him.
I consider myself a “revolutionary” gardener, and believe in the power of a garden to change the world—one backyard plot at a time. To paraphrase Henry David Thoreau, I have great faith in a seed.

·     What’s your favorite book?
I must admit I start more books than I finish. Here are several:
Personal interest – The Market Gardener, by Jean-Martin Fortier; a step-by-step guide to starting a small-scale sustainable farm.
Best books from high school – Siddhartha, by Herman Hesse, and Civil Disobedience, by Henry David Thoreau.
Best book from college – Power and Powerlessness, by John Gaventa; a case study demonstrating the role of ideology in shaping how we think of conflict, and why oppressed peoples often don’t recognize and combat their oppression.

Your favorite movie?
The Big Lebowski—though I still don’t know what it all means! There Will Be Blood was also a recent favorite. I like nature documentaries, too.

Your favorite TV show?
I don’t have cable, and try not to spend too much time in front of screens outside of work. But I do enjoy the occasional dose of The Daily Show.

·     Your favorite sport and team?
I’m not too big into any particular sport, but I love being outdoors—camping and hiking especially.

·     Your favorite music?
I like a lot of different artists, but most recently have been into artists featuring a pedal steel guitar. My favorite album of all-time is The Grateful Dead’s American Beauty.

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