There are those who know what they want to do with their lives from an early age, and then there are those who have to take awhile to find themselves. Rebecca Cassel Roese admits she falls in the latter category, but this 30-something mom of three believes she has found her life’s passion.
Rebecca teaches medical classes at College America in Denver, Colo., and this past July was promoted to Associate Dean of the school’s medical program. The fact that she would end up as an instructor surprises even her.
You see, Rebecca is the first to admit that school was not really her thing. She graduated from Broken Bow High School in 1994, after moving here when she was in the 8th grade. She says she was not terribly interested in school back then, and did just enough to get by and earn her diploma.
Out of high school she did some traveling and working at various jobs, in search of a field that truly interested her. She found it when she began a job working with people with brain and spinal cord injuries.
Rebecca was providing direct care for these injured individuals, but says she loved it so much that she wanted to do more - to make a difference. She thought that by pursuing a career in the administrative side of that care she would be able to accomplish that.
So at the age of 24, Rebecca decided to go back to school. She was living in Fort Collins, Colo., at the time and started college there. She then moved to Scottsdale, Ariz., and studied psychology for a year and a half. She moved to Denver to finish her education, and graduated with her bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration in 2007 from College America.
She began working at the campus in career services shortly after graduating, and then started teaching classes. She continues to teach there, and was promoted in July. Rebecca is currently working on her master’s degree through College America’s sister campus, Stevens Henager, and will graduate in September 2011.
“I have accomplished what I wanted to do, as far as making a difference, just in a much different way that I thought,” says Rebecca.
“I am now training the healthcare workers, so I’m changing the system from the inside out and having a direct effect on it.”
Rebecca says she always thought she would go back to direct care. “I am attached at this point to the students, and really do like it better than direct care,” she explains.
Rebecca says College America is a special school, in that it is specifically designed to give those who might not otherwise get a chance the opportunity to go to college. The school has a large percentage of low-income people and single-parent students, which Rebecca says makes her job more than just a teacher.
“I don’t think I would be able to work at a traditional university. I don’t think I would have the same loyalty to seeing the students succeed,” explains Rebecca. “These students are people who want a degree so they can get a better job and take care of their kids and pay their bills.”
Rebecca got another surprise recently when she was notified that an article she had written on medicare fraud was being published in a medical journal. One of the instructors in her master’s program is managing editor of the “Journal of Healthcare Leadership, Man-agement and Research” and asked to publish the article.
Rebecca says she is living proof that not everyone is college material right out of high school. She advises students who are unsure of what they want to do to take a little time and “work and live for awhile” before going to college.
“I just believe we have too much student loan debt and that not enough college degrees are being utilized,” Rebecca says.
Rebecca now lives and teaches in Denver, is married to husband, Pete, and has four daughters; Madison, 11, Izabelle, 6, Lilly 3, and Avery, 2.
“I’m glad I waited to go to school - to know what I wanted to do and to have the experiences I have had,” says Rebecca. “I believe it made me a better person.”