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.

Raise the level of education attainment in the Commonwealth by positioning KCTCS as the accessible, affordable, and relevant postsecondary education choice for Kentuckians.

graduation rate total

Definition: Cohort of first-time, full-time, credential-seeking undergraduates who complete their program within 150% of normal time as reported to the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

Objective: Increase graduation rate by 1.0 percentage points each year.


Definition: KCTCS net price as a percentage of the weighted net price for students paying the in-state or in-district tuition rate & receiving grant or scholarship aid at Kentucky public four-year colleges.

Objective: Achieve and maintain a net price equal to or less than half that of public four-year institutions.

Increase access and success for all KCTCS students, particularly among traditionally underserved populations.

retention rate urm

Definition: The percentage of first-time, credential-seeking URM students (American Indian or Alaska Native, Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, and Two or More Races) who return to the institution to continue their studies the following fall.

Objective: Increase URM retention rate by 1.5 percentage points each year to align with colleges’ CPE-approved Diversity Plan Metrics.

graduation rate urm

Definition: Cohort of first-time, full-time, credential-seeking URM students (American Indian or Alaska Native, Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, and Two or More Races) who complete their program within 150% of normal time as reported to IPEDS.

Objective: Increase URM graduation rate by 1.4 percentage points each year to align with the colleges’ CPE-approved Diversity Plan Metrics.

Develop clear pathways through all levels of postsecondary education with an emphasis on experiential learning that lead to successful employment outcomes for KCTCS graduates.

experiential learning

Definition: The percentage of AAS and Diploma graduates (vocational/technical programs) in a given academic year who have participated in an experiential learning component that qualifies for academic credit.

Objective: Increase number of students engaged in experiential learning by an average of 1.0 percentage points each year.

associate degree chart

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 credential was earned or in the next academic year.

Objective: Increase transfers by an average of 1.0 percentage points each year.

Improve student engagement, support, experiences, and success with best-in-class academic and student service.

retention rate

Definition: Fall-to-fall retention rates of first-time, credential-seeking students as reported to IPEDS.

Objective: Increase retention by an average of 1.0 percentage points each year.

active learning chartstudent effort chartacademic challenge chartstudent/faculty interaction

Definition: The Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) is a product and service of the Center for Community College Student Engagement, which is part of the Program for Higher Education Leadership in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy at The University of Texas at Austin. CCSSE measures benchmarks of effective educational practice in five areas: Active Learning, Student Effort, Academic Challenge, Support for Learning, & Student/Faculty Interaction. CCSSE reports percentage scores for each college as a comparison to the national average.

Objective: Maintain CCSSE average benchmark scores at or above the national average.

Align programs and curricula with needs of employers that enhance the employability, job placement, and career development of KCTCS graduates.

licensure/certification rate

Definition: The number of students in the Voluntary Framework of Accountability’s (VFA) Career and Technical Education (CTE) completer/leaver cohort who achieve a passing grade on their first attempt of a licensure exam within one year divided by the number of students in the CTE completer / leaver cohort who sat for the first time to take the licensure exam within one year.

Objective: Exceed national average for cohort pass rate.

workforce credit hour conversion

Definition: Number of credit hours of workforce non-credit courses (clock hour conversion to credit hours).

Objective: Increase credit hours by 1% in the first year with 2.5% each year thereafter from a baseline of a three year average 13,153 (2012-2013 to 2014-2015).