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CFCC student rediscovers her love of science

Maggie Vaughan

Maggie Vaughan’s journey took an unexpected turn after obtaining her bachelor’s degree in biology in 2012. Originally aspiring to attend veterinary school, life’s circumstances led her to work as a finance manager for a local truck dealership.

Despite the change in career trajectory, her dream of becoming a veterinarian never faded. In the summer of 2022, she began her plan to apply to vet school by starting with CFCC’c Veterinary Technology program.


To enhance her chances of acceptance into vet school, Maggie enrolled in an online organic chemistry class, taught by CFCC Chemical Technology Program Director Tracy Holbrook. Impressed by Holbrook’s teaching style, she found herself thoroughly enjoying the course (despite it being her third time studying organic chemistry).

To her surprise, the class reignited her passion for the sciences and reawakened her interest in chemical technology. During the organic chemistry class, Holbrook introduced the Chemical Technology program to the students. Holbrook’s description propelled Maggie.

“I looked into the Chem Tech program and realized that with my previous credits, I could finish the program in a year,” Maggie explained. “That’s only a year to transition me back into a science field. And it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”

Maggie Vaughan


One aspect of the program that genuinely appealed to Maggie was the balanced approach to learning, thanks to the combination of in-person classes and online resources. This structure allowed her to manage her time efficiently, as she could access lectures and materials online at her own pace while still benefiting from face-to-face interactions in the classroom. It provided her with flexibility and a more personalized learning experience.

Much credit for her positive experience at CFCC goes to Holbrook, who served as not only an exceptional instructor but also a dedicated advisor. Maggie credits Holbrook’s support and guidancel in helping Maggie plan her course schedule to meet her accelerated graduation goals. As the advisor for everyone in the program, he has been reliable and attentive, ensuring that all students have the necessary resources and information to succeed in the program.

“I enjoyed all my classes, but my favorite class was probably spectroscopy which uses light to detect compounds in various ways,” commented Maggie. “Because I like math, I appreciate the amount of quantitative work needed to determine the concentration of unknowns. I can apply mathematical principles to analyze the data and uncover the solution compounds. I just think that’s incredible.”


Maggie’s time at CFCC has been nothing short of fantastic. The experience at CFCC provided her with unparalleled access to state-of-the-art equipment, something she had not encountered during her university days. While at the university, the equipment seemed outdated and offered limited opportunities for hands-on experience.

In stark contrast, CFCC’s well-equipped facilities allowed her to explore and utilize a wide range of modern equipment, giving her a more comprehensive and practical understanding of the subjects.

“CFCC lets us operate the instruments and calculate concentrations based on the results that the instrument gives you,” commented Maggie. “It’s fun being able to make a solution in the lab, run it on a piece of equipment, and learn a variety of things about the solution’s composition. It’s an incredible hands-on experience.”


After graduation, Maggie is excited about the prospect of working full-time with one of the local labs, but she’s now facing a delightful challenge due to the wide variety of opportunities available. Initially considering pharmaceutical labs, she’s now discovering a myriad of lab types in the area.

These include biotech labs, environmental labs focused on water analysis, pharmaceutical labs conducting quality tests, and even a lab specializing in manufacturing fume hoods. The abundance of options, ranging from manufacturing to quality control and food chemistry, offers a variety of choices.

“I’m still open to going back to vet school,” Maggie shared. “I could apply what I’ve learned in this program to pathology and veterinary medicine. The compounding pharmacy that makes drugs for dogs, cats, and other animals also needs scientists. I think that would be interesting.”


Maggie’s journey into the world of science reignited her passion and rekindled a profound sense of happiness within her. This newfound joy served as a reminder of the importance of pursuing one’s dreams and finding fulfillment in a career that aligns with one’s passions.

Maggie’s advice to others is rooted in her own experiences and insights. Firstly, she emphasizes the importance of cultivating curiosity in the learning process. Rather than approaching assignments solely as means to pass tests, she encourages a genuine interest in the subject matter. By immersing oneself in the material and understanding its significance, the learning experience becomes more enriching and enjoyable.

Secondly, Maggie underscores the significance of passion and genuine interest in one’s chosen path. She advises individuals to ensure they are genuinely intrigued and focused on their pursuits. If the subject matter fails to captivate their interest, it might be an indication that it’s not the right fit for them. Pursuing a career or educational path that aligns with one’s natural curiosity and passion is essential for long-term fulfillment and success.

“My time at CFCC has been a revelation, offering a vastly different educational experience,” concludes Maggie. “The access to modern equipment, the combination of in-person and online learning, and the mentorship I received have made my journey even more fulfilling and rewarding.”

Chemical Technology

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