Heather Morris - Columbus State Community College 50th Anniversary

When the Fortune 500 company Heather Morris had spent seven years with downsized, she took the buyout and dove into a job making soups and breads in a small vegetarian restaurant.

"Computer Operations wasn't my cup of tea, anyway," she says. "I took the new job to stay busy and realized I had a knack in the kitchen. After a few months, I applied to the Culinary Apprenticeship program at Columbus State, both because the program structure made it easy to get the degree and stay in Columbus, and because of its affordability."

"I hadn't really thought of my own business," she says. "I just wanted to make good food and make people happy."

Coming from a large corporation, Morris appreciated the small class sizes and the instructors' professional experience. And thanks to several of her instructors, including Mokie Steiskal and Deane Cobler, when she graduated in 2000 she was equipped with the kitchen confidence and knowledge she needed to excel.

"The Culinary program was great. It was a very well-rounded program with solid education. I especially liked the Nutrition class, learning what happens with food in the body. It was great, and I feel that students are well-prepared."

Over the next several years, she worked in some of the best restaurants in Columbus. Then, while she and her husband were vacationing a few years ago, she noticed a "daily parade of donut boxes" going by from a nearby shop. The locals raved about these high quality donuts, and after her first bite, she too was smitten. Back home, she researched the business and became an apprentice at one of the country's premier gourmet donut shops.

"I hadn't really thought of my own business," she says. "I just wanted to make good food and make people happy."

Last November, Morris opened Destination Donuts with a weekend spot at the North Market. Her decadent artisan donuts are also sold at a select group of restaurants, grocers and coffee shops around Columbus. Owning her own small business has been incredibly rewarding for Morris, and she loves her work-life balance.

"What's not to love about what I do? I have a great job and I have a lot of fun, and I'm watching my daughter grow up."

The Culinary Arts program helped make Morris into the Donut Queen, and now she's baking happiness into every creation.

Images: A Year in the Life of Columbus State