Among many wonderful traits Melissa Stafford possesses, one of them is being a pioneer.
After a 17-year hiatus, the 38-year-old mother of two returned to Corning Community College in the fall of 2017. A former clinical assistant, Melissa wanted to pursue a degree in the health industry and was excited to be one of the first to enroll in CCC’s new Community and Public Health associate degree program.
With this degree, Melissa will transform lives through community outreach programs, and her children’s lives. The Corning resident ultimately returned to school to one day work in a field she loves that could help her support her children, Brayden and Brianna.
Now, she is the first-ever graduate of the Community and Public Health program and has paved the pathway to success for future CCC students.
“It’s a new experience for me to be at the forefront of a life-changing program. The professors at Corning Community College call me the ‘pioneer.’ It’s a humbling opportunity,” Melissa said.
During her two years spent at CCC, Melissa collaborated on community programs in areas such as health and wellness, recovery, and peer advocacy.
“The Community and Public Health program brought real-world factors into the coursework. I was able to work on projects directly with the greater Corning community,” said Melissa. “Because of what I learned at CCC, I would like to develop outreach programs for schools in the Corning area that focus on bullying prevention.”
A goal of Melissa’s is to remain active in her children’s lives. She hopes to build her career by working in school systems building outreach programs, which would allow her to interact closely with children.
Melissa’s debut in CCC’s alumni ranks is sure to make a statement. Her instructor, Rosemary Anthony, shared that Melissa was a dedicated student and will be a powerful advocate for those she helps.
“Melissa will move forward and become a successful, first alumna of the Community and Public Health program,” Rosemary shared.