In Her Own Words: An Interview with CCC Alumna and CCC Foundation Board Vice-Chair Anne O

by Nalini Kale

Anne, tell us about your connection to Contra Costa College (CCC).

I graduated class of 2000 at Middle College High School (MCHS). My high school counselor introduced me to MCHS. He explained the dual enrollment model MCHS has with CCC. I was shocked that I’d be able to take college courses at the same as high school. For my family, it was a miracle that I’d be able to advance my education while saving time and money. We had caring teachers and a strong counselor who pushed us to become better people. At the same time, the college instructors and career guidance counselors were incredibly supportive and made sure we knew all the options and career pathways available to us.

How did CCC impact your educational journey?

I felt incredibly lucky to have access to so many adults and peers who helped educate me about different fields, industries, and careers. I participated in the MCHS leadership council and joined the Center for Science Excellence program, where I found tremendous support that helped form the person I am today. I was exposed to different internship opportunities in the sciences. We went on lots of field trips, providing opportunities I would not have experienced until adulthood. I am truly grateful for CCC’s mentorship.

After receiving your A.A., did you transfer to a four-year institution or begin working?

I attended UC Davis and had enough credits from CCC to finish a B.S. in Human Development in three years instead of four. After that, I attended the University of Southern California for a Masters in Social Work. 

What advice would you give to someone considering enrolling at CCC?

CCC wants you to succeed! My advice would be to participate in lots of internships and join student organizations. Ask everyone questions about their own career paths. CCC staff and peers have a wealth of knowledge and experience that you can learn from. The campus is a hub of support resources, so if you need help with something- whether related to educational or personal needs- speak up!

What inspired you to join the CCC Foundation Board?

The community college system has helped my entire family. When my parents emigrated from Vietnam, they took courses at a community college that helped them find a pathway to employment and careers. My brother also attended MCHS. West County is my home and I care greatly for this community. It’s important for me to pass on everything I learned and the resources that helped me in my life. CCC was a safe place to explore who I am and what I want to contribute to this life with intention. Spending my time volunteering with the Foundation is an extension of that hope and plan to give back.

What would you say to someone considering their first gift to the Foundation or considering joining the Foundation Board?

I’d say go for it and thank you for investing in this incredible community and our students! Each and every contribution is an opportunity to support the growth of an exceptional individual at the College.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I’m grateful for the care and support I had from CCC. The individuals and opportunities on campus nurtured me in a multitude of ways. It brings me great joy to be on the CCCF Board — to be part of an incredible team who all care so deeply about our community and want to see every student succeed.