Brittnye Freeberg

Brittnye Freeberg"Keep your head up and your heart open"—that's the mantra that drives and guides biology major Brittnye Freeberg, a dually-enrolled student at COCC and OSU. Focused on becoming a genetics counselor, it was her own personal health that set Brittnye on this specific academic path.

When diagnosed with severe endometriosis, Freeberg learned that becoming her own best advocate was vital to coping with the complex and painful condition. Biology classes and an inspirational online literature class at COCC sparked her thirst for knowledge. And they proved to her that she was "smarter than I thought I was."

Along with her full-time student's schedule, and a part-time job with a local investment firm, hard-working Freeberg is a busy mom to three young kids. And while her path has presented some hurdles, including a time when she and her husband and their kids struggled with a homeless situation for the better part of seven months, she seems to simultaneously size-up and stare-down adversity. "Without an open heart and an open mind, and the hope to carry on with our chins lifted up, we wouldn't be accomplishing the steps necessary to achieve our dreams," she shares.

This perseverance also carries into the classroom, where she has maintained a 4.0 grade point average. She was selected as one of two students to represent COCC on the 2017 All-Oregon Academic Team. "The open and accepting environment at COCC is something I cherish and has helped me achieve the short-term goals necessary to reach my ultimate goal," she says. "I am so very grateful."

Acknowledging the uplifting academic encouragement that she has received, she adds: "I can't brag about COCC enough. I love all the professors."