Travelling the Path to an Engineering Career

Travelling the Path to an Engineering Career

ROSEBURG, Oregon – Jessy Tucker grew up in Lookingglass, Oregon; describing her early life as growing up around animals and old cars. Tucker and her brother participated in 4-H and even started a hobby herd that they still have today.

“For most of my childhood, I had thought that I wanted to be a veterinarian. After taking this more seriously in high school and job shadowing a local veterinarian, I realized quickly that I didn’t have the stomach for most medical procedures.” said Tucker.

She pivoted and took other vocational electives in high school like AutoCAD, Metals, and Construction Technology.

“I attended an Engineering event at UCC and quickly realized that there were all kinds of jobs available in the industry and I could start my career path here at home, at UCC.”

Tucker graduated from Douglas High School and immediately started classes at UCC. “I started at UCC in the summer of 2011 in Math 95”, said Tucker.

“So I had an idea of what I wanted to study and just ran with it. I was able to be part of the Transfer Opportunity Program (TOP) and the counselors helped guide me through my schedule each and every term for all three years.”

“I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to utilize [TOP] as a resource. I am not sure college would have been such an enriching experience if I had to go through it without that support system. The Transfer Opportunity Program gave me the ability to not only graduate but to also build a new network of friends and support at school.”

Looking back on her experience at UCC, Tucker continued, “One of my professors, Clay Baumgartner, was attentive to my questions and was always willing to re-explain concepts to me as needed. Clay actually invited me back to his Intro to Engineering class to watch a presentation on Orenco and that’s how I met my current employer.”

“[Orenco] is focused around health, safety and helping others. I started as an intern and knew I wanted to come back when I had completed my Bachelor’s.”

In time, Tucker graduated from UCC and continued her studies at OSU where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Ecological Engineering. Then, she went to work for Orenco Systems, Inc.

Thinking about some advice that she might give to prospective Engineering students, Tucker advised, “Do your research to help decide which sector of engineering interests you the most and try to take as many classes as you can at UCC.”

“Don’t be afraid to take longer than the average student. Also don’t be afraid to change your major if you want. I changed from Civil to Ecological Engineering after my second term at OSU and I am so happy that I did!”

“If you are logical and like facts, consider the cost of getting a degree. There is a substantial savings to start at a community college versus a university. I have the student loans to prove it!”

“At UCC, I was able to apply for grants, scholarships, and work part-time. I did not need a single loan for all the three years that I attended.”

Tucker has covered a lot of ground since starting at UCC. At the end of it all, she concluded, “I’m very happy with the career I chose. There is room for me to grow, learn and change. Engineering is a field that will always thrive. Every aspect of our lives has some form of engineering in it. Every day is challenging and exciting.”

About Umpqua Community College

Nestled in the beautiful North Umpqua River Valley, Umpqua Community College is the regional center for higher education in Douglas County, Oregon. UCC provides high quality college degree programs, workforce development, and community learning opportunities.


Dee Winn
Department Chair, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
Phone: 541-440-4680