Mike Spencer - Columbus State Community College 50th Anniversary

Mary Beth Kopechek Morrow hadn't yet finished high school when she enrolled at Columbus State in 2003, the second of 10 children, all home-schooled. The experience must have been a positive one because four siblings have followed her to Columbus State.

"With a half-dozen Kopecheks attending Columbus State at one time or another, I guess you could say it's our school," she says. "The experience at Columbus State really helped me get acclimated to college and boost my confidence. After being home-schooled, it was nice to have a place to ease into college life before heading off to Ohio State to finish my bachelor's degree."

Not only did she launch her collegiate education at Columbus State, but Kopechek Morrow has since returned as an adjunct instructor in biological and physical sciences teaching Anatomy and Physiology.

"Having been a student at Columbus State – twice – gives me an incredible perspective as an instructor."

"I love working with the students here. Many are attempting to balance education with work and family responsibilities. When that super-busy student succeeds in a course and completes a degree, there's so much to celebrate because of what they've faced and overcome every day."

Kopechek Morrow earned both a bachelor's and a master's degree in animal science from The Ohio State University, and she applies that in-depth anatomical knowledge in her teaching as well as in part-time work for a local veterinarian. The animal lover also volunteers at Canine Companions for Independence, a nonprofit that trains and provides assistance dogs to individuals with developmental disabilities.

To add to her skillset and ability to work with animals ever more closely, Kopechek Morrow recently reprised her role as a Columbus State student, finishing an associate degree in Veterinary Technology in 2012. This added training will no doubt come in handy, as her husband is in veterinary school at Ohio State.

"Having been a student at Columbus State – twice – gives me an incredible perspective as an instructor. Many students juggle a lot of responsibilities as they go about their studies. Understanding those demands connects me quickly with my students and helps me help them be as successful as possible."

Images: A Year in the Life of Columbus State