Stepping Sideways to Find Your Path Forward

Penny Rice

In 1984, Penny (Ellison) Rice proudly graduated with her associate’s degree in computer science from Corning Community College. Attending CCC was an easy and practical choice. Local, affordable, and a quick commute from home, but most importantly they offered the degree program she wanted. Penny is originally from Watkins Glen and is a first generation college graduate.

She cherishes her time at CCC where she made numerous life-long friends. While a student, she was part of the college’s work-study program and had a job in the Dean of Students’ Office. Penny found a friendly community, caring professors, and helpful staff at CCC that supported her as she worked toward her degree. Living on campus wasn’t an option when Penny attended so she found a group of friends to share the commute to campus. Carpooling to and from class with friends was definitely part of the fun.

After graduation, Penny went to work for the Schuyler County Clerk before moving onto Cornell University (CHESS). At Cornell, she was able to use the technical knowledge she received at CCC to automate some of

their administrative lab management systems. She eventually transitioned to Digital Equipment before becoming a consultant for Corning Incorporated. She worked with them through the Petra Group training staff in Microsoft Office applications and designing custom training for enterprise software.

Twenty-five years later, she continues to work for Corning Incorporated having held positions in the business and at the corporate level. Currently, she’s a researcher for IT Employee Experience where her goal is to help her fellow employees have the best work experience possible. “My technical understanding and skills, and the ability to relate my education and experiences to solve problems, was essential to develop and deliver quality training that enabled others to efficiently use their applications.” The combination of her technical learning at CCC and her Business Management degree from Elmira College have been extremely valuable to her career.

Penny would encourage local high school students to take advantage of this amazing institution in their backyard. CCC continues to be affordable and flexible. The quality and overall experience at CCC is excellent and provides a solid foundation for any further education.

Outside of the office, Penny enjoys cooking, gardening, and hiking the many beautiful local trails of the Finger Lakes region. She also spends time serving her community through volunteerism with Victory Highway Wesleyan Church, helping with animal rescue, and meal delivery services with Meals on Wheels.

Penny’s advice to current students and recent graduates, “Sometimes you have to step sideways before you can step forward. Don’t get too hung up on job titles and focus instead on finding work you enjoy and a work environment that is supportive.”