Outstanding Students

JoEllen Ritchie

Where are you from? Solon, Iowa.

Why did you choose Kirkwood? It offered the program I was looking for and it was right in my backyard.

What is your major and how did you choose it? Digital Arts. It was the multidisciplinary approach to learning the skills that most interest me as I shift careers. 

What has been your proudest moment at Kirkwood? Pushing myself beyond what I thought I was capable of accomplishing.

What are your plans after Kirkwood? To put my newly acquired skills into practice – but always to be open to learning more. I will likely start out as an apprentice to continue learning from those who have honed their skills for decades. I hope to be able to pass those skills on to others when the time comes. 

What inspires or motivates you? My faith, my family and my friends – all of whom encourage me to step out and be more than I thought I could be. My mentors here at Kirkwood who push me to go that extra bit to perform at my best.

Tell us about who you are outside of Kirkwood. I have a wonderful, supportive husband of 23 years, and three adult children that I adore. I love to read, mostly non-fiction, cook, DIY around the house, travel and try new things. I am a firm believer that learning is a lifelong endeavor. 

What does being named an Outstanding Student mean to you? Being an “older” student can be a bit intimidating. Putting those doubts aside and learning from others, including the other students, I can truly say I am proud of my academic accomplishments. This time around, I embrace the value of the education process and have given it my all. 

Is there anything else you’d like to add? I would like to thank Kirkwood for investing in programs like Digital Arts. I hope to see the program expand even more, as there is so much to learn in the field!

Categories: Outstanding Students