Judy Lopez already had a successful career, rising to the executive ranks of Chetco Federal Credit Union headquartered in Brookings but with the help of Southwestern Oregon Community College and the Southwestern Oregon University Center, she completed her formal education to help her continue to excel in the business world.
After beginning to take college courses for credit at Southwestern in the fall of 2001, Lopez went on to earn her baccalaureate degree in Business Administration from Eastern Oregon University last spring. Lopez took classes to apply to her degree at the Southwestern Brookings Center while also taking online courses.
I found SOCC to be caring, helpful and encouraging, and I felt they were with me on my journey to attain my degree and graduate,” Lopez said.
“Several of the classes that I had to take for my degree were not something that I would normally have been exposed to,” she said, “but I thoroughly enjoyed them and continually use what I learned.”
Lopez currently serves as Assistant Vice President/Communications Officer for CFCU in Brookings. CFCU supports continuing education for its employees because education yields stronger, more rounded and happier employees to create a stronger credit union.
“I encourage every person to take an honest look and determine how they can improve themselves, and then take steps to do just that,” Lopez said. “It may be simply reading, learning or taking classes.
Just do it!”
Balancing a job, school and community is a challenge for many students, but Lopez was able to manage it in order to achieve her goal.
“First and foremost, realistically investigate the commitment that you will need to make and then decide if you can – and will – make that commitment,” she said. “I debated for awhile and talked with my husband, as I knew this would be a major commitment for both of us. But it was something that I really wanted to do. And I did it, with his support all the way!”
Southwestern and the University Center make it possible for community members on all parts of the South Coast to pursue further education and complete associate, baccalaureate, master’s and doctorate degrees without leaving home.
“I found SOCC to be caring, helpful and encouraging, and I felt they were with me on my journey to attain my degree and graduate,” Lopez said. “They were as excited as I was when I received my degree!”