For St. Clair County Community College alumnus Jake Louks, SC4 offered the chance to connect with faculty in an invaluable way.
“At another university I attended before SC4, I felt like one of thousands,” Louks said. “I felt like college wasn’t for me because I didn’t like the big lecture-style courses I had at the university. At SC4, I was able to connect with faculty. My experience was totally different—small discussion-based classes with approachable faculty. It was more aligned with what I wanted.”
The Port Huron Northern High School graduate attended SC4 in 2009 and again from 2010 to 2012. While at SC4, he focused on taking transferrable credits and benefitted from faculty committed to his success.
“Faculty members are such an important resource. My SC4 professors did a great job bridging the gap and building a relationship, which allowed me to reach out outside of class for clarification and to bounce ideas around,” Louks said. “They gave me the space to become a self-advocate. They went above and beyond to make sure I could see the path I wanted to travel—both in their course and in life.
“Jim and Patricia Frank in particular had a big impact on me. They created a sense of community with my classmates and with them. They really helped me explore topics from separate viewpoints and disciplines.”
Louks transferred credits from SC4 to Western Michigan University, where he studied public history and earned a bachelor’s degree in 2015.
Upon graduation, he put his degree to work with service at an archival library and a national park. He then served as a career and college planning advocate with AmeriCorps and is now working as an organizer for a labor union that represents educators.
According to Louks, who is preparing to take the LSAT and has legal aspirations, his experience at SC4 helped him on his career path immensely.
“I don’t like the word networking, but SC4 helped me learn how to build relationships professionally, and when you have more people helping you it is much easier to succeed,” said Louks, who reversed transferred back to SC4 in 2016 and earned an associate degree. “I don’t think I would have completed an undergraduate degree without my experience at SC4.”
He added, “Community colleges represent the American Dream to me. I believe that the American Dream means that anyone should be able to settle and make a living where they want. That could be New York City, or it could be the rural thumb of Michigan. Community colleges help make that happen.”