Katie Riddle

The traditional path is to begin with community college, then transfer to the university to complete a Bachelor's degree. But Asheville native Katie Riddle, who graduated from Emory University in Atlanta with a double major in Linguistics and Political Science before enrolling in community college, is not one to follow traditional paths. She found the key to capping her college experience with Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute's Speech Language Pathology Assistant program.

“I had no practical or therapeutic skills, or child development background,” said Riddle, who will graduate in May 2014. “I have gotten that here.” After graduating from prestigious Emory University in Spring 2012, she applied to CCC&TI's SLPA program – one of two statewide. She was accepted for Fall 2012 and has benefited from the experience. Noting a huge difference between her university and community college experiences, she credits the quality of instruction as well as an abundance of encouragement from CCC&TI faculty for her success.

“The instructors know who you are and want you to do well,” she said. “The program has high expectations, but has the resources to make it attainable.” Riddle has an overall GPA of 3.926 at CCC&TI, and a 4.0 GPA in her program of study. After graduation, Riddle plans to pursue a Master's degree and eventually a doctorate. She hopes to one day work in a medical or school setting.

“For me, the most successful part of my community college experience was just trying it,” Riddle said. “I have worked hard, done well in my classes, and gained numerous valuable experiences; but I would not have any of that so-called success if I hadn't tried something new first. I think every story of success, mine being no exception, must begin with try.”