Christina McCullough of Liberty Center has been selected as the Owens Community College class representative and will address the graduates during this evening's 34th Fall Commencement Ceremony. She is graduating in Quality Assurance with Summa Cum Laude honors.
McCullough, 35, remembers first visiting the Toledo-area Campus when she was a teenager, receiving a tour from her cousin, Theresa Wilkerson King, who was enrolled in the Registered Nursing program. King graduated in December 1998 and was the student speaker at the Registered Nursing Pinning Ceremony.
"Spending time with my cousin meant the world to me. I always looked up to her," said McCullough, who also received encouragement from King about the importance of college.
McCullough first enrolled at Owens after graduating from Toledo Whitmer in 1998, but left a year later when she encountered financial barriers. Not long after leaving Owens, she met her future husband, Mark. They now have been married for nine years and have two daughters, Maia, 7, and Alana, 5.
McCullough thought about returning to college, but was never sure it would happen as she worked demanding jobs that required overtime hours, first at Northwest Ohio Developmental Center and then at Valvoline. She left the workforce when her children were born.
She was inspired watching her older sister, Rebecca Vore, enroll at Owens and then graduate in May 2013 with an Automotive Technology degree. Vore had been a stay-at-home mom for more than a decade. Vore attended McCullough's meeting with an advisor upon returning to college. "Her support meant a lot to me," she said.
She resumed Owens classes in August 2010, first wanting to go into the Physical Therapist Assistant program and then the Sonography program. She looked at other possibilities, discovered the Quality Assurance program, and "fell in love."
While attending Owens, she cared for her mother whose two-year battle with COPD ended in May 2013. "I felt like if she could fight this hard, then so could I. It seemed like a balance; I motivated her by doing well in school and in life in general and she did the same for me."
Louis Masney, adjunct faculty member in the School of Business, Information and Public Service, nominated McCullough for Commencement class representative along with colleague Paul Bean. Masney wrote in his nomination that "Chrissy is a model student. She is a very pleasant, bright young lady. She comes prepared for all classes, attendance is perfect, all assignments are completed on time and thoroughly prepared. As a mother of two young children intent on furthering her education, she could be the poster student for the community college purpose."
McCullough is the recipient of The Rich Harmon Memorial Scholarship and the 2014 George H. Barrows Master Scholarship by the Toledo Section of the American Society for Quality.
After graduation, she will pursue a job with her Quality Assurance degree, and will eventually seek a bachelor's degree. In the coming years as her daughters grow older, she plans to share the importance of a higher education -- just like her cousin did for her.
"I want to make it so my kids go to college and strive for these achievements," she said.
View Commencement Speakers.
- View past Class Speakers.