From Creative Writing to Pre-Med

Sometimes all you need is a little nudge to point you in the right direction. For Kaylin Smith, that nudge came from her guidance counselor at Sterling High School, who encouraged her to enroll in dual-credit classes at Southeast Community College. 

“My school counselor urged me to take a college class to get a head start,” Smith said. “When I signed up for my first college class, I was super scared. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to adjust to the classes and be successful.”

On the surface, you wouldn’t think Smith would need a push. She was senior class president, National Honor Society vice president and Student Council secretary. In addition, she participated in band, one-act play and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She ultimately enrolled in the Southeast Nebraska Career Academy Partnership to take college classes and explore different careers. Smith challenged herself academically in SENCAP, which helped her become a better student. She also changed what she wants to study in college.

“When I first started SENCAP, I had aspirations of becoming a creative writer,” Smith explained. “However, with the help of job shadows and field trips in SENCAP, I now have a new dream for my future career. I plan to study pre-medical lab sciences and become a medical laboratory scientist.”

Smith is enrolled at the SCC Beatrice Campus in the Health Sciences transfer pathway this fall. She plans to transfer to the University of Nebraska at Kearney to major in Pre-Medical Lab Sciences. None of this surprises Addie Huesman, her high school counselor.

“Kaylin is an excellent example of utilizing the resources that enrolling in the SENCAP program can provide,” Huesman said. “I watched her growth and personal exploration over the last two years, which has helped Kaylin become more prepared for her post-high school endeavors.”

Smith graduated last May with 15 college credits thanks to SENCAP. Adam Niederklein, dual-credit coordinator at SCC, sees nothing but success in her future.

“Kaylin is driven, motivated, curious, insightful, and conscientious. All the work she submits in the SENCAP Portfolio exemplifies these characteristics. She inspires you to want to be a better person,” Niederklein said.

SENCAP also allowed Smith to test different career paths before enrolling in college.

“SENCAP opened my eyes to new opportunities and helped me become who I am today,” she said. “I know if someone truly takes advantage of SENCAP, they will experience the same thing. It can genuinely be a life-changing experience.”

SENCAP offers several pathways for high school juniors and seniors to earn college credits for half the cost. It’s also a way to explore different career opportunities while getting hands-on experiences. Currently there are 47 school districts within SCC’s 15-county service area taking advantage of the program.

Learn more about SENCAP at:

Jennifer Snyder
Communications Specialist