BHC got me here: grads pursue dream degrees

Black Hawk College is a great place to begin your higher education. No matter what your interests are, from agriculture to music, we have you covered! Do what you love while you learn. Read on to hear the stories of three BHC graduates who are now earning bachelor’s degrees at universities. BHC Transfer Programs allow you to transfer to a four-year institution ready to earn your bachelor’s degree.


Lydia Olson

Black Hawk College degree: Associate in Arts

Graduation year: 2018

Hometown: Moline, Illinois

Where did you transfer to? Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois

What are you majoring in? Music Therapy

How did Black Hawk College prepare you for a four-year school? I was able to complete all of my gen eds at Black Hawk College thanks to great faculty that truly care about my education. I especially have a deep appreciation for the music professors who helped prepare me for my degree in music therapy. I would be lost now without the amount of knowledge that I gained about music at Black Hawk College.

What did you enjoy about Black Hawk College or your time here? I enjoyed being in the music ensembles such as chamber choir and the symphonic orchestra. It was important to me to be able to make music with a group of accomplished musicians that also became some of my close friends over time. I also had amazing experiences from being a part of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society.

What are you planning on doing when you graduate? I still haven’t decided how I will be using my music therapy degree. However, whatever I end up deciding I hope to be helping people gain a better quality of life.


Brooke Parrish

Black Hawk College degree: Associate in Science

Graduation year: 2017

Hometown: Elmwood, Illinois

Where did you transfer to? West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas

What are you majoring in? My major is in Equine Industry and Business with a minor in Animal Science.

How did Black Hawk College prepare you for a four-year school? Professors such as Mr. Watson and Mr. Stewart helped me to challenge myself and truly learn and apply what I have learned. In high school, I never really had to study and I think if I would’ve gone straight to a four-year school without having tools to learn how to study and apply my knowledge, then I would have struggled so much.

What did you enjoy about Black Hawk College or your time here? I absolutely loved the people. I strive to surround myself with driven, passionate, caring people and Black Hawk College gave me those individuals. I have so many relationships and connections that will be lifelong. To me, this is irreplaceable.

What are you planning on doing when you graduate? I am planning on staying in Canyon and applying for graduate assistantships on West Texas’ campus. Through the ambassador program at Black Hawk College and the ambassador programs at West Texas I am involved in, I have found a passion for recruitment. I hope to continue to be a part of recruitment for places I can truly advocate for such as Black Hawk College and West Texas A&M!


Ryleigh Semanchik

Black Hawk College degree: Associate in Science

Graduation year: 2018

Hometown: Great Meadows, New Jersey

Where did you transfer to? Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma

What are you majoring in? Animal Sciences

How did Black Hawk College prepare you for a four-year school? Black Hawk College prepared me in making my decision on which University to attend. Being involved in extracurricular activities made me aware of my options for which university would be best suited for my future endeavors and competitive teams I wished to be a part of. By having professors who are experienced in assisting students on their next move, they help make the decision and the transition an easy and effortless task.

What did you enjoy about Black Hawk College or your time here? The largest thing that I enjoyed about Black Hawk College was a smaller classroom environment. Being able to connect with professors in a smaller classroom setting really allowed me to get the most out of my education. I also enjoyed my time spent getting involved and being a part of competitive teams, this really allowed me to develop a strong group of friends that soon turned into family, all who are still supportive from afar.

What are you planning on doing when you graduate? After I graduate I plan on pursuing a career in ruminant nutrition.