Alumna’s real-world experiences help budding entrepreneurs
With her career path laid out for her by others with the best of intentions, Patricia Puno dutifully began her education at Washtenaw Community College in 2010.
Despite enjoying the WCC campus and doing well in her studies, she was unhappy.
“I felt a lot of pressure to go into a field that I wasn’t interested in,” she recalled. “So instead of finishing my degree, I moved to Chicago and went into fashion design.”
Still, she found herself unsatisfied with what she calls her “rebellious phase.” She returned to Ann Arbor with a determination to combine her artistic and problem-solving talents.
She said, “it turned out web design and development was just what I was looking for.”
Road home leads to new roots
Puno was diligently researching colleges and universities when she discovered WCC’s Web Design and Development program.
She learned those completing the program could find work in web coding and programming; graphics; and user experience, such as accessibility, interactive design and responsive/mobile design. The studies, in combination with the program’s use of industry-standard software and coursework that emphasizes best practices, would enable her to pursue a variety of career fields.
In addition to the program, Puno recognized there were other benefits to reap at her alma mater. “WCC is much more affordable than four-year options,” she shared, “and the faculty are always up-to-date with cutting-edge technology.”
After completing her studies at WCC, she transferred to EMU, where she is working toward a bachelor’s of technology management. And at the neuroscience biotech company where she was interning, she was asked to join as a full-time employee.
“At WCC you get real-world experience in partnership with what you learn in class,” she said. “The College changed my life and I am compelled to give back. That’s why, along with my work, I also volunteer as a consultant for the Entrepreneurship Center.”
Small business, big success
The Entrepreneurship Center at WCC is a meeting place and resource hub open to the public. Its purpose is to connect the community to resources and professional assistance to help entrepreneurs bring their ideas to market.
In addition to free workshops, the center has open co-working space available for anyone to work on business ideas, study, do business research and share computer and printing resources. One-on-one appointments are available for business owners needing assistance.
“The Entrepreneurship Center helped me tremendously when I was in school and looking to grow my own consulting business,” Puno said. “I want to be sure to give others the same opportunities I had.
“I want everyone to know that if you want to make a difference and have the best experience, you need to go to WCC.”