Student Work and Stories

Student Work

Student Poetry

For National Poetry Month in 2021, both current and former COCC students recorded videos of themselves reading an original poem they had written. These videos were then posted on the COCC Barber Library’s National Poetry Month website. Watch the students read their poems:

Student Stories

Brittnye FreebergBrittnye Freeberg

Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer degree
Product development scientist

Science and literature have been guiding forces in Brittnye Freeberg's college education. Determined to learn more about a health condition she was living with and to understand how to be her own best advocate — and to help others — Freeberg began taking biology classes at COCC. At the same time, she took an inspiring Autobiography class, one that motivated her to create a blog which she was pleased to see reached people all over the world.

"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."

"Because of her uplifting academic encouragement, I elected (English) professor Stacey Donohue as my advisor after that term, and she was a highly valuable mentor throughout my college experience," says Freeberg. "Another class I truly enjoyed was Cultural Diversity in Contemporary American Literature, with professor Chris Rubio. The fresh perspectives of authors from various cultures imbued me with a sense of global community and a deeper compassion for the experiences of different people." The literature helped open new understandings and nurture new sensibilities.

After COCC, Freeberg attended Oregon State University and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a bachelor's degree in biology along with two minor degrees. One was in chemistry — the other was in English.

Now working at a global biotech firm, where she's involved in a host of drug development projects, Freeberg appreciates how her dual academic focuses at COCC combined to excite her about her education and how Humanities — its topics and its instructors — became a significant part of her path. "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."

Scott GreenstoneScott Greenstone

Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer degree
Reporter, KNKX public radio

Scott Greenstone's path to a career in journalism began when a COCC English professor noticed a gifted voice in one of his early essays. She encouraged him to consider working at The Broadside, the COCC student paper. Greenstone soon cut his teeth as a campus reporter, then worked his way up to editor. One of the stories he wrote involved interviewing a fellow student who lived in a tent, an experience that ended up being more impactful than he realized at the time: Greenstone covered homeless issues for The Seattle Times for more than five years.

"I was at COCC to figure out what I wanted to do with my passion for writing."

After COCC, Greenstone went on to the University of Oregon, where he edited the student-run Daily Emerald, later interned at Oregon Public Broadcasting and National Public Radio, then worked for The Seattle Times.

His work there was about more than illuminating homeless issues — it was about making sure humanity wasn't lost in the process. Greenstone saw his role as somewhat of a translator, spelling out the differences between basic shelters and enhanced shelters, articulating the gulf between chronic homelessness and newly homeless. "I've talked to a lot of people who are experts on homelessness, and they don't understand what the public doesn't understand," he says. "I can act as a go-between." He's now a reporter with KNKX public radio in the Seattle-Tacoma area.

Greenstone appreciates how COCC helped him sight his way. "If Annemarie Hamlin hadn't written 'You should write for the student newspaper!' on my first essay, I don't know if I would be where I am now. I was at COCC to figure out what I wanted to do with my passion for writing."

Chyna KennedyChyna Kennedy

Humanities student

A talent for cake designing originally brought Chyna Kennedy to COCC, where she thought her career would take the path of a trained pastry chef. But her creative focus — and her professional aspirations — began to nudge her in a different direction. Writing, rather than frosting, started to become her chosen medium for expression.

"I wanted to write and give a voice to those who don't have one."

"I changed paths and decided I wanted to be a journalist," she says. "I wanted to write and give a voice to those who don't have one."

In addition to cultivating her writing skills, Kennedy has discovered an interest in marketing, encouraged by a job where she handled social media platforms and other marketing focuses. She added a minor in marketing to her Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer degree and plans to further her studies through Oregon State University's E-campus. Along the way, her new passions have translated into classroom success: Kennedy made the dean's list and earned a place on the All-Oregon Academic Team.

"When I started my first term at COCC, I was nervous and afraid that I had committed myself to a task that I was doomed to fail," she adds. "Since that first term, I believe I have grown more as a person than I ever would have imagined. Once I've completed my program, I want to start freelance writing as well, focusing on issues involving human rights and the justice system."