Prestigious All-American chosen from student body
Only a small number of national college students every year are selected for the prestigious All-American Academic Scholar award, given in honor to recognize those students who are not just outstanding members of their school’s student body, but also dedicated leaders doing work that goes beyond their campus and into their community. One of the chosen few rewarded this prestigious honor is Umpqua Community College’s Rachel Arceo, a student who has struggled with an autoimmune disease that has shown exceeding academic excellence.
Arceo’s educational goal is in the field of therapy to help marginalized communities have a voice. At UCC she currently works as a peer tutor through TRiO.
Arceo was raised in California and dropped out of high school in 2002, working until diagnosed with Lupus late in 2016 while living in Nevada. This was a severe blow to Arceo, causing her to later move back to California where she would find not just medical support but also support from her family and local community that helped relieve some of the stress of her condition.
Arceo returned to her education later to finish her high school diploma, she would then move up to Oregon in the summer of 2019, working for a local meadery until becoming a member of the UCC student body during the fall term of 2021 where she found friendly faces open to lend a hand in both the staff of TRiO and the teachers of UCC.
“When I first came here as a non-traditional student it was wild. I hadn’t been in school for nearly 20 years,” Arceo says.
Destiny Hunt, former director of TRiO, and UCC’s new teaching and learning center director, has supported Arceo since she first began her journey at UCC. Arceo noted Hunt has been one of the major forces that drove her to pursue many of the scholarships she has gained.
“She is an amazing student to work with,” Hunt says. Arceo appreciates Hunt significantly, noting the gift of simple moral support when needed, or aid with the generation of ideas for scholarship essays and the editing of those essays.
With the support of UCC staff, Arceo has thrived in what was once an alien environment. Her work with TRiO has led her to become a fully paid tutor to help other members of the UCC student body who require aid due to their own unique learning situations. Her significant challenges as a non-traditional student with health issues who works on campus and serves as a student media feature editor as well as a club officer allow her to understand and encourage other students.
“I have a confidence that I truly did not before,” Arceo says.
Arceo is an active president of the Spanish Club, where she helps strengthen ties to the growing Latinx and Spanish-speaking communities; she is also a active member of the prestigious Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society; a member of the TRiO Student Advisory Board, where she helps encourage diverse representation throughout Oregon campuses, and she is a reporter for the student newspaper The Mainstream, where she has published 33 articles and helped teach other students media skills.
With help from both staff and fellow students, Arceo has been admitted to the campus of the University of Oregon, where she will continue her psychology studies.
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