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Spotlight on Student Success

Cai Yun Fairbairn

UCC graduate benefits from ESL, GED and AAOT programs to reach success.

Cai Yun is a Chinese native who had to drop out of high school to help care for her ill mother. Education is a priority for Chinese families, and even though she had not completed the requirements for a high school diploma, she continued her education by taking vocational education classes to learn English and computer skills. She utilized these skills working as a translator. In 2010, when China was affected by the downturn in the economy, Cai and her husband, David, decided to move to Douglas County, where he was from. It was David who encouraged her to enroll in an ESL class through Umpqua Community College.

At UCC, she met Marguerite Garrison, Assistant Professor, Adult Basic Skills, who recognized Cai Yun’s potential and encouraged her to take the GED math test. She was somewhat hesitant, but followed Marguerite’s advice to take the test, and she scored a 660 (out of 800). Her success on the math component spurred her on to achieve more. Further encouragement by UCC staff members, April Hamlin and Greg Kuk, led Cai Yun to complete the GED program and then complete an AAOT in business and accounting. She was on the President’s Honor Roll every term while at UCC, which recognizes students who receive a GPA of 3.75 or higher. She was also one of five finalists for the Jacoby Award, a very prestigious award given to a graduating student who has maintained an accumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher and who has participated in both student and community service activities. Cai Yun credits her success as a student to her motivation, the support of her husband, and a caring UCC staff.

Cai Yun now commutes to Eugene to attend the University of Oregon. In addition, she works two days a week tutoring UCC students in the Success Center. Cai was asked to tutor at the U of O, but felt she could have a greater impact on local students. This very talented and motivated woman wants to give back to the institution that believed in her and encouraged her to move forward with her education and her life.

Thinking of getting a GED? Need to become proficient in English? UCC can be your starting point to university studies in a variety of majors.

Photo: Cai Yun Fairbairn (credit: UCC)

Marguerite Garrison - Contact
Assistant Professor, Adult Basic Skills
Phone: 541-440-7889

April Hamlin - Contact
Director, Adult Basic Skills
Phone: 541-440-7802

Greg Kuk - Contact
Associate Professor, Business
Phone: 541-440-4663

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