Outstanding Students

Kay Hess

Where are you from? I retired in May of 2018 after 34-years as a radiation therapist, the last 28-years here in Cedar Rapids.

What is your major and how did you choose it? In the spring of 2020, I began classes at Kirkwood Community College to pursue my real passion, a degree in Parks and Natural Resources. I began taking evening classes until the fall of 2022 when I quit my job as a lunchroom lady at Kennedy High School, which I thoroughly enjoyed, to become a full-time student. I love being a student. I’ve learned so much with every class I’ve taken. I like doing the projects, power point presentations, and writing reports and papers.

What has been your proudest moment at Kirkwood? When I look back at my time at here at Kirkwood, I think my proudest moment has been encouraging and mentoring a fellow student who was retaking a class she had failed. If she failed again, she was ready to quit Kirkwood. Another non-traditional student and I took her under our wings and we are proud to say that our “little bird” is graduating this spring.

What are your plans after Kirkwood? Soon after graduation my husband and I are planning to move to southwest Utah. We want to work or volunteer in the nearby national parks and monuments.

What inspires or motivates you? My classmates are my motivation. These young people are so smart, kind, helpful and so passionate about what they want to pursue in life.

Tell us about who you are outside of Kirkwood. My husband and I both grew up in camping and travelling families. This instilled in both of us a love of the outdoors. We’ve continued that tradition in our own children, now 23 and 25.

What does being named an Outstanding Student mean to you? I am honored and a little stunned at being nominated and receiving this award. To be honored while just having fun is a new concept. I want to thank my professors for this nomination and for their caring, guidance and leadership to all their students.

Categories: Outstanding Students