Cerro Coso Community College

Love of Community

Eric Bruen

Class of 2007

“In 2006, I enrolled at Cerro Coso Community College to work toward my Associates Degree. At the time, I was already professionally successful as the CEO of a small credit union. I had no idea how much I really didn’t understand about the community college system and our partnership from this decision has been one of the best I ever made.

"I was one of those lucky ones. I first attended Occidental College out of high school and dropped out like so many young adults do. I found a career in credit unions afterwards and have been able to serve members for the past 23 years. But my education credentials we always lacking. Once a part of the Ridgecrest community, I decided to go back and make right what I had let go wrong. Cerro Coso’s incredible on-line course schedule was waiting there for me. In just over 15 months, I was able to graduate with my Associates Degree in Business from Cerro Coso. I remember the first few courses and my frustrations with group chats, online reading, and just being back in the education system. Cerro Coso made the entire experience rewarding for me.

"After my graduation, our business implemented an education benefit to provide 100% funding for any employee to pursue their Associate Degree. This came from my discovery of how much the discipline and pride education provides can help young employees evolve into professionals. We have since graduated four people as employees through the Cerro Coso program.

"In 2016, I returned to Cerro Coso to complete undergraduate course as I completed a Bachelor’s Degree at CSU Channel Islands. When I graduated in 2017, there was no more rewarding feeling that the sense of closure granted to me in achieving my degree at 41 years old. This would never have been accomplished without the incredible program Cerro Coso offered.

"My love of community and the relationships I forged through Cerro Coso have made a permanent impression on my views, my life, and my ambitions. I hope to soon add the title of “Mayor of Ridgecrest” to my resume right below my education accomplishments. I could not have dreamed to reach this opportunity without the incredible staff, teachers, and supporters at Cerro Coso."