Brook Ogden says the TCC tagline, ‘From here, go anywhere,’ rings true. “I was in a job I didn’t enjoy. Now I’m on a path for a career I’m excited about,” she said.
Brook spent her 20s working for a real estate company. She considered becoming a broker and even passed the state licensing exam. “That small accomplishment gave me the courage to believe in myself and propelled me forward,” Brook said.
Today, Odgen, 30, has clear career goals and a passion for serving others.
She will walk across the stage during Tidewater Community College’s 74th Commencement at Chartway Arena and earn an Associate of Science in Science.
Brook has her sights set on the emerging field of genetic counseling, where she will help people live healthier lives by checking genetic markers. ““I’ll be starting in a relatively new field of science and be able to help people invest in their health and future,” she said.
Brook encourages other women to consider the STEM fields. “I had four different science labs and I learned so much in each one. That knowledge will be foundational for my future learning,” she added.
Brook started at TCC’s Chesapeake Campus because it was right down the street from her home and the campus was small enough to not feel overwhelming. “I’d been out of high school for so long, and something about the small classes and being able to talk with professors was really appealing,” she said.
And while Brook didn’t apply herself in high school, she was a top performer at TCC, earning a 3.9 GPA.
A work-study student in the Chesapeake Campus Student Center, Brook says she gained a lot of leadership experience and new skills. She said, “It was challenging and like no job I’d had before. But the best part was the people who became like family.”
Brook sends a shout-out to history Professor Kevin Brady. “He was my favorite teacher ever. His storytelling abilities are legendary and he cares about his students, and it shows,” she said.
This summer Brook is putting her biology degree to work and interning with Chesapeake Mosquito Control Commission. She will be working alongside biologists to study local mosquito populations and monitor mosquito-borne diseases.
A native of Blacksburg, Virginia, Brook is continuing her studies at James Madison University where she will earn a bachelor of science in biology. She also hopes to continue for a master’s degree.
“My professors captivated me and instilled a love of learning and I’m really grateful to TCC for all they’ve done for me,” Brook said.
Brook and her husband, Mike, have two pups – a Great Dane, named Iris, and a toy Poodle, called Pooh. They are excited to return to the mountains of Virginia and look forward to hiking and spending time with family.