Student story: An opportunity to redirect

By Leigh Keeton

Randy Cheng’s family always told him he had an engineering mindset. So, at 23, when he left a four-year university after a pathway toward pre-dentistry didn’t work out, he decided to take his family’s insights seriously.

Cheng enrolled in the University of Toledo’s computer science and engineering (CSE) program through Lorain County Community College’s (LCCC) University Partnership, through which the Ohio college teams with 15 colleges and universities. Having taken several dual-enrollment courses at LCCC when he was in high school, Cheng knew he would get an afforadble, quality education.

“I chose LCCC and UP because it had a great reputation for the computer science and engineering program,” Cheng says. “And a high rating for the professors who taught the classes.”

The right setting to thrive

While Cheng says the transition from high school to a four-year university was rough, he had a completely different experience at LCCC and in the CSE program. Adrienne Aguilar, associate director of the program, noticed a change in his demeanor, which helped lead Cheng to academic success.

“Randy definitely found the right major,” Aguilar says. “And I think that being back home, having the support of his family and the close-knit environment that the CSE University Partnership offers, he was able to thrive.”

Cheng didn’t just thrive in the classroom. He landed co-op opportunities at Green Circle Growers — one of the largest greenhouses in North America with over 150 acres of indoor growing space — and, after graduating in May with his bachelor of science degree, was offered a full-time position as a system integration analyst. He’s now helping transmit files to and from the business and its vendors. Cheng has long-term goals with the company.

“As technology continues to evolve, I plan to keep up with the ever-growing world of computer science and programming,” he says. “I am hoping to transition into a software development role.”

This article was originally published in CC Daily.

Leigh Keeton

is writer/project coordinator at Lorain County Community College in Elyria, Ohio.