For Hannah Ousley, 20, Metropolitan Community College is a family tradition. The Kearney native has an older brother and sister who also attended MCC-Maple Woods. She has a younger brother still in high school who plans to take dual-credit MCC courses this fall.
Ousley, who is graduating with an associate in arts degree, entered MCC-Maple Woods focused on completing her courses but through leadership opportunities on campus also found a heart to serve others. Part of that was an internship at the Bishop Sullivan Center, where she worked with the homeless.
Back story: Ousley was home-schooled from kindergarten through high school. During high school she attended the home school co-op Christ the King Academy, graduating in May 2017.
She chose MCC because it was affordable and she didn’t know what she wanted to study. “I didn’t see the point spending more money at a university when I wasn’t sure what I was going to major in,” she says.
Ousley is a peer mentor on campus. Music instructor Jim Murray nominated her for the position.
“I thought I would have absolutely no time to spare in college, let alone be involved on campus,” she says. But after jumping in to help with new-student activities, “I realized how much fun and fulfilling the leadership experience can be.”
She says it helped her develop new skills and built a lot of connections with faculty and staff. Ousley can be found in the academic advising office assisting students with enrollment and taking care of any technical questions about online student accounts.
“I remember how scared I was to start college. Helping students feel comfortable is very rewarding to me.”
Best thing about attending MCC: The community atmosphere. It helped her thrive socially and academically. She says the small class sizes are a big bonus, and there are many opportunities to grow. “You actually get to know your classmates and instructors and build relationships with them. Everyone here does their best to make sure you’re on the right path to success.”
Favorite instructors: Ousley says her favorite classes and instructors are Music Appreciation with Jim Murray and Spanish classes with Chad Montuori. “Both of them are funny and relatable.”
Favorite MCC moment: It happened during her first semester. Murray asked her to attend the Gladfest parade in Gladstone. “Every year he drives his 1974 fire truck in the parade. It was fun getting to ride in it with my instructor and (a fellow) peer mentor. Sounding off the siren was a blast, too.”
Challenging moment: College algebra. She was doing so poorly that she considered dropping the class. Ousley was already attending study and tutoring sessions. She met with the instructor, who suggested she attend her other lectures. Ousley did just that for the rest of the semester.
“I’m proud to say that by putting in the extra effort I passed college algebra with a better grade than I expected. This just goes to show that the faculty really do care about your success.”
Next steps on the journey: She plans to attend Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in human services and a minor in Spanish.
Advice for other students: “Reach out to your instructors and other faculty. They are here because they want to see you attain your goals and be successful,” she says. “I would also suggest getting involved on campus, especially taking on a leadership role.”
Have gown, will graduate: Ousley doesn’t have any big plans for graduation. She’ll keep it low-key. She did invite a lot of her family and friends to attend commencement on May 16. “No parties, but I’ll probably go out with some friends or family afterward.”
What others say: “Hannah has consistently demonstrated the type of work ethic, drive and discipline that we as educators wish all our students possessed,” Montuori says. “From introductory Spanish to the intermediate level, she has never backed down from a challenge.”