Meet Our Students

Whether you're thinking about college after high school graduation or planning to pursue a new career, Somerset Community College has a place for you.
Find out how the lives of some of our students have been transformed at Somerset. 

Meet Berniece

Berniece Combs picHer life-long dream was to go to college and become a nurse. Finally, after raising a family, 44-year-old Berniece Combs enrolled at Somerset Community College to begin fulfilling that dream. Along the journey these past two years, she has found a passion to help other students get the most out of their college experience.

As Student Government Association President and Phi Theta Kappa Honors in Action Vice President, Combs had decided to put her nursing course work on hold and dedicate this year to that of service.

“It’s not how quickly we finish the journey,” said Combs. “It’s how we enjoy the journey. Being able to enjoy the college experience is so important, and I’ve loved every minute.”

”The goal of Phi Theta Kappa and SGA is to collaborate with clubs and organizations and get the students engaged,” said Combs. “If we can help them stay on campus, interact, and become motivated, it is proven they will be more successful.” 

This passion to help others was one factor that did not go unnoticed when Combs applied and became nominated to the KCTCS Board of Regents as student representative, together with Suzanne Tasayco of Gateway Community and Technical College. The two representatives were selected by the 16 college student body presidents as KCTCS Student Body Co-Presidents and Student Regents. Their terms begin August 2013, and continue through August 2014.

“I’m really excited. First of all, I want to represent our college and students well, along with all of the 16 colleges under KCTCS,” said Combs, who works on the Laurel Campus in the first year advising center as a student mentor. The feedback she receives from students will be brought to the system level during board meetings held throughout the year. “I feel like this will complete my year of service.”

Combs lives in London, Ky. and is pursuing an associate degree in nursing at SCC. She was elected the 2013-14 SCC Student Government Association President, serves as the Phi Theta Kappa Honors in Action Vice President, a First Year Mentor and a member of the Collegefish Workgroup. She plans to obtain a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kentucky

Meet Chuck

Chuck Vanover small spifAs a member of the Kentucky National Guard, Charles (Chuck) E. Vanover excelled in service to his country. Now, as a student at Somerset Community College, Vanover continues to excel both personally and professionally.

Vanover is a resident of Lily, Kentucky in Laurel County. As a member of the Kentucky National Guard from January 2006 to October 2011, Vanover was recognized through honors such as the Combat Infantry Badge (C.I.B.) award for being fired on in a conflict, the Operation Iraqi Freedom Metal (a unit wide metal), the Army commendation (individual metal) and the National Defense medal (given to all persons on active or reserve status).

As a SCC Laurel student, Vanover is completing his final semester at SCC and plans to transfer to Union College to pursue a degree in education.

“I chose to attend SCC because it is a student- friendly and helpful environment,” Vanover said when asked why he chose SCC to continue his education. “The STAR Center staff (now known as the Learning Commons) provided support and assistance when I experienced academic challenges. Two of my instructors, Jeff McFadden and Melinda Allen, helped to increase my interest in studying history and adjunct instructor Judy Johnson was very important in helping me to overcome weaknesses with math.”

Upon completion of this semester, Vanover will receive yet another award – his Associate of Arts degree. He plans to complete his bachelor’s degree in education and become a middle grades social studies teacher.

Student Achievement at Somerset Community College

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) asks that each member institution provide to its students, constituents, and the public, information about “its goals for student achievement and the success of students in achieving those goals. Information on student success may include reliable information on retention, graduation, course completion, licensure examinations, and job placement rates and other measures of student success appropriate to institutional mission.” Somerset Community College (SCC) identifies these measures for student achievement.

Each measure includes the most recent data available and a definition of the measure derived from the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) Strategic Plan or as determined by SCC.

Associate Degree Graduates Who Transfer Within One Academic Year:

associate degree graduates who transfer within one academic year 

Definition: Percent of Associate earners in academic year who enrolled at a four-year institution that academic year after the term end date of the term the first Associate was earned or in the next academic year.
Source: National Student Clearing House, CPE Official Data
Goal: Increase to 35.3% by 2019-2020.

Number of Associate Degrees Awarded:

associate degrees received

Definition: Annual count of Associate degrees awarded.
Source: Official data as reported to the Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE).
Goal: Increase associate degrees by 23.4% by 2019-2020.


Graduation and Transfer-out Rates:

transfer rates 

Definition: Graduation rate is the percent of students who began their studies as full-time, first-time degree- or certificate seeking students who completed a credential within 150% of “normal time” for completing the program in which they are enrolled. Transfer –out rate is the percentage of full-time, first-time students who transferred to another institution without earning a credential. N is the number of institutions in the comparison group.
Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS): Winter 2016-17, Graduation Rates component and Spring 2017, Fall Enrollment component.
Goal: Increase graduation rate to 29.0% by 2019-2020.

Retention Rate:

retention rates graph

Definition: The percentage of first-time students who return to the institution to continue their studies the following fall. Retention rates are measured from the fall of first enrollment to the following fall. N is the number of institutions in the comparison group.
Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS): Winter 2016-17, Graduation Rates component and Spring 2017, Fall Enrollment component.
Goal: Increase retention rate to 53.4% by 2019-2020.


Student Engagement: 

Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE)


SCC CCSSE Benchmark Report





Active and Collaborative Learning 





Student Effort





Academic Challenge





Student-Faculty Interaction





Support for Learners





Definition: The total CCSSE cohort mean for each benchmark is 50.
Source: CCSSE, University of Texas, Austin
Goal: Maintain CCSSE average benchmark scores of 50.0.