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2020 high school graduate, Ashley Costello, starts different college plan in response to pandemic

Friday, August 21, 2020

The recent graduate earned 24 college credits from NICC while in high school, with many of the courses completed online.

ashley costello news imageMany high school graduates established their college plans as early as a year ago. But just with any well-intentioned plan, COVID-19 made what had seemed set in stone subject to change in an unpredictable environment. 

The situation rings true for May 2020 Western Dubuque graduate, Ashley Costello, who decided to complete a degree at Northeast Iowa Community College instead of the uncertainty she might face at a large four-year university.

“I was ready to go to a four-year university to study psychology and become a mental health counselor. But with Covid-19, going to a university wouldn’t be right for me. I’m not someone who likes uncertainty. I want to be local and home, so I enrolled at Northeast Iowa Community College,” Ashley said.

The recent graduate earned 24 college credits from NICC while in high school, with many of the courses completed online. Now, Ashley has one full year of a transfer degree done and decided that an Associate of Science degree from NICC would allow her to complete a bachelor’s degree later.

“Personally, I love taking online courses with Northeast Iowa Community College. I learn better on my own time and independently. The instructors are great and they work with you and answer any questions you have,” she said.

For Ashley, earning an Associate of Science degree brings her closer to a career in healthcare. The Career Learning Link program through NICC, in partnership with her high school, helped to focus her goals.

“Being part of Career Learning Link and talking to my advisor helped me to explore careers. I took a School-to-Work class at my high school with Career Learning Link and I learned about possible careers, pre-employment strategies and interviewing skills,” Ashley explained.

She worked in high school as a dietary aide at a local long term care facility. “I really like being around people and taking care of older adults and even much younger people. I’m am 100 percent determined to begin a career in healthcare, possibly in respiratory care,” she said.

Ashley received a Dupaco Community Credit Union Scholarship and funding from the Booster Club and a local foundation to support her college education.