Throughout her college career, Alana Lipscomb has defied her own expectations.
She initially enrolled in Pikes Peak State College (PPSC) to find a better job. But after becoming an honors student and State Student Advisory Council (SSAC) chair, she realized she could reach even higher.
Today, Lipscomb is working toward her bachelor’s degree at Colorado State University Pueblo (CSU Pueblo) as a transfer student.
“Going to college was the best thing that I could have ever done for myself and for my life, because it kickstarted a whole new relationship with myself,” Lipscomb said. “I was able to develop myself professionally and be around other people who were like-minded.”
Lipscomb was a good student in high school but felt intimidated when she walked onto the PPSC campus in 2015. She had just quit her full-time job at a call center, a gig that paid the bills but something she didn’t want to do forever. At age 24, she decided to pursue an associate degree in communications to improve her career prospects.
Balancing work, school, and parenting wasn’t easy, Lipscomb said. The mother of three struggled to find quiet spaces to study and talked often with professors about challenges she faced in and outside the classroom. But thanks to guidance from faculty and staff, she was succeeding beyond her imagination.
“I didn’t think that I could get good grades like that,” Lipscomb said. “Becoming eligible for Phi Theta Kappa, the honors society, really boosted my confidence and made me want to do more.”
Lipscomb later joined student government, where she was appointed as the SSAC representative for PPSC. SSAC is a student-led organization that advises state leaders and policymakers on issues facing community colleges. The group coordinated events and discussions on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), food insecurity, and other topics that inspired her to step up her leadership.
In 2018, Alana was elected as SSAC chair, a position that sits on the State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education. Under her leadership, the council advocated for colleges to use open educational resources (OER), free course materials that save students hundreds in textbook costs.
The experience proved transformative for Lipscomb and her family.
“It’s not just young kids that go to college—it’s adults, it’s moms and dads that are really trying to do something more for their families,” she said. “My kids were able to see me go through school later in life, and now they are looking to go to college themselves.”
After graduating in 2019, Lipscomb put her skills to work as a program manager for community organizations, running youth programming and connecting clients to executive coaching and diverse leadership resources. She enjoyed the work but realized she could be an even better advocate with more training. So, she set her sights on earning a bachelor’s degree in business management and leadership from CSU Pueblo.
Thanks to a strong relationship between the two colleges, the transfer process was seamless, Lipscomb said. CSU Pueblo accepted nearly all her credits and approved learning accommodations she previously received through Pikes Peak’s Accessibility Services office. With junior standing, Lipscomb intends to graduate in 2024.
For those planning to transfer, Lipscomb recommended reaching out to the destination institution early to make sure credits fit with the bachelor’s degree plan. And don’t be afraid to lean on former mentors and advisors who can walk you through the process, she said. There’s a whole community cheering on your success.
“My family was supportive of me when I was getting my associate degree, and they are behind me 100% with my bachelor’s degree,” she said. “I can’t wait until I’m walking across the stage again with that degree in hand.”