One of the coolest parts of the ACCS Communications #NationalTransferWeek road trip is the opportunity to connect with four-year university employees who first attended an Alabama community college before determining their future goals of helping students.

While at Jacksonville State University we connected with interim President Don Killingsworth, a Central Alabama Community College alum. Roxanne Bailey, the university’s transfer admissions specialist, took college-level courses while in high school through dual enrollment at Snead State Community College.

At the University of Alabama, Brandi Stacey, the Alabama Transfers Project director for the entire state, is a Coastal Alabama Community College alum. At Auburn University, Melissa Dunn, Assistant Director of Orientation and the First Year Experience, is an Enterprise State Community College grad.

Their stories coupled with the many stories from current transfer students from Alabama’s community colleges really brought home the fact that community colleges are a great next step for residents considering any academic or workforce program.

On our visit to Auburn on Thursday, Melissa said about 60 percent of all the university’s transfer students come from Alabama’s community colleges.

“We feel like they’re very much prepared to continue their education journey here at Auburn,” she said.

Maggie Adams, a fifth-year senior at Auburn who started in the nursing program at Southern Union State Community College, said the class sizes and the one-on-one connection with instructors for the same, basic college courses she would have taken at Auburn her first two years were great selling points.

Melissa said her own experience at Enterprise State shaped how she serves students today.

“I had people there (at ESCC) that truly encouraged me and made me who I am today because of the confidence they instilled in me and how they challenged me to be successful and get plugged in at Auburn. I’m where I am today because of them.”

-Melissa Dunn, Auburn University Assistant Director of Orientation for the First Year Experience, Enterprise State Community College alum

Elizabeth Henlee is a Business Analytics student at Auburn University who transferred from Bevill State Community College a year ago. She’ll graduate in the spring and already has a job opportunity. Elizabeth worked with the Business School at Auburn to create a professional development course for transfer students that will help guide them in their experiences.

“My transfer experience was pretty seamless, but I knew that it was going to not be as seamless for others. My Orientation Leader experience for the First Year Experience and my role as a peer instructor helped me become more confident with my public speaking and with helping students with different questions about the university.”

Elizabeth Henlee, Bevill State Community College alum and current Auburn University student