Stories of Excellence–Jessica Briceño
Jessica Briceño believes in broadening her horizons. Not only does she seek to grow personally, but she strives to improve life for her family and her community. Her journey in life has had its challenges, yet she continues to pursue her mission of making the world a better place because of the strength she has found in herself from her time at Mitchell Community College.
Briceño graduated Statesville High School and started Mitchell in 2008. For many students, the transition to college can be a stressful one. In her first semester, Briceño struggled to navigate a new environment and narrow down her career path. Although she received support from the college, friends and family, Briceño knew the time was not yet right for her to continue her education. Seeking to serve her country while exploring the world, Briceño chose to join the United States Navy in 2011 as a mechanic.
During her service, Briceño experienced many different places and cultures. She discovered a strong sense of community and cultural awareness. “My service has helped me out as an adult to interact with people,” Briceño noted. As Briceño’s service came to a close, she began her family and decided to return to Iredell County.
As her family continued to grow, Briceño returned to her studies at Mitchell in 2016. The College’s instructors made an impression on Briceño, from their thorough explanations of concepts to their fundamental dedication to student success. “Both Keith Miller and Amy Poirier were just fabulous,” Briceño added. “I loved getting to attend their classes.” Briceño also received impactful support outside the classroom. Ann Wright was tremendous helpfully in navigating veteran benefits, funding which helped immensely with her ability to pay for school and supplies. Aiming to give back for all the support she has received and to set a good example for her children, Briceño made and continues to make time in her busy schedule to volunteer with various local clubs and organizations.
Briceño finished an Associate in Arts degree in 2019, but her time at Mitchell was not over. Wanting to take her education further, she enrolled in Mitchell’s culinary arts program and also began coursework for an agribusiness certificate. She aims to learn how to prepare food in the most natural and safest way possible. Briceño also has big plans to take the skills she has learned at Mitchell and give back to the community. Aiming to provide more healthy options when it comes to accessible food for everyone in Iredell County, Briceño aims to start a local, healthy food truck or restaurant with the next ten years. She has a passion for the idea of greenhouses and eco-friendly environments, and she has seen a need for that in her hometown of Statesville. “I want to my build my life here for my community all for the better.”
Her journey thus far has not been simple, but Briceño is grateful for the experiences that have brought her to today. A pivotal part of this journey has been her time at Mitchell. “No matter where I have been in my life––through the really tough hardships or the really great days where nothing can stop me––Mitchell Community College has continued to give me this hope and strength that I can do better and be better,” she shared. “The opportunity is mine to take. As a student, a veteran, a mother of four, a lover of knowledge, thank you for guiding me to a better future.”
For those considering going back to college, Briceño has some words of wisdom to share. “It is never too late to go back to school,” she said. “There were many personal trials and tribulations that took me to very low points, but my yearning to continue my education never faded. Neither age nor time should stop you from doing what you want to do.” Horizons can always be broadened.
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