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Shannon McKemie ‘98 - Fullerton College Experiences 94-97

When did you attend the college?

I attended Fullerton College from August 1994 through May 1997. I transferred to Chapman University. I officially graduated from Fullerton College in May 1998 because I got the paperwork in a year after I transferred. I was conferred with an Associate of Arts in Liberal Studies May 1998.

What was the college like then (big issues, events, activities, student concerns)?

The OJ Trial was occurring while I attended and I watched the verdict announced in the student union which was filled with a diversity of students. Parking was a concern for the students. I parked in the area that is now the parking structure under the trees; also across the way in the parking structure across from Fullerton High School.

The death of Jennifer Twohy and William Baughn on Sept. 30th, 1995 in car accident on the 5 Freeway near Alton. I graduated with Jennifer Twohy in June 1994 from El Dorado High School in Placentia, California and had seen her a few times in the hallways at Fullerton College as we both attended the school. I will never forget her sweet smile and kind spirit. The bombing of the Federal Murrah building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma occurred during my time at Fullerton College. I watched the footage from the bombing and it was discussed in one of my classes.

One of my proudest moments during my time was to win the William B. Meyer Freshman Writing Award in May 1996 from the English Department. I didn’t even know that I had been nominated by my favorite English teacher, Marc Kemp, for the honor. I was blessed by the ceremony, the award which I still have framed, and the check which went towards my classes/books at Fullerton College.

Who were the most memorable people from your time at FC?

Pamela Richarde “Beginning Voice for Actors”
I’ll never forget learning in her class where I store my emotion and feeling her pressure on that area. It gave me awareness to my feelings and how they affect my posture and body. It was a taste of the Fullerton College Theatre department which I would have liked to been a part of but, thought because of my job and focus on IGETC that I would not be able to give the time required.

Dr. Lynne Negus “ World Civilization”
I loved all of her history classes which I was a part of. She brought the world to our classroom in the music, smells, and videos. She also presented the material from a perspective of experience and actually having gone to the places that she spoke of. I have always loved history, it’s something that my father gave me a love for; it was through her class that I was opened in a new way to World history. I believe this later could have played a factor in my emphasis in European history rather than American history at Chapman University.

Marc Kemp, MA “English 60”
I’m not sure where to begin as his classroom, constructive criticism, and willingness to work with me to grow as a writer left a lasting impact on me. He exuberated with a passion for English and teaching. He required his students to think critically and formulate an opinion and per suavely argue it in our essays. We learned about grammar but also had discussions on current topics. He challenged my growth and to improve my sentence structure. He believed in my dreams at that time and encouraged me to pursue them. I remember how he touched my life; and now in my current position working as university staff though, I do not have the contact that others have on campus with the prospects, applicants, and students; I want to give a little of what I have been given to others to touch their lives and experience with college. He is also on a short list of people that someday I hope to acknowledge when/if I am able to print my novel.

Where has life taken you since? (career, family, personal accomplishments and interests)

After Fullerton College; I attended Chapman University from August 1997 to January 2001. I was conferred with a Bachelor of Arts in History with a European emphasis in January 2001. I was the first generation of my family to receive their Bachelors within my immediate family.

I spent two weeks in Edinburgh, Scotland in July/August 2002 with Youth with a Mission on an outreach during Edinburgh’s annual Fringe theatre festival. I followed up with five months in Africa with Youth with a Mission from September 2003 through February 2004 for their Discipleship Training School. The lecture phase was in Worcester, South Africa which is a town outside Cape Town in the wine lands; and the outreach was to Namibia, and Angola.

In 2005, I was hired by Chapman University with their University College unit which is now Brandman University to pioneer a position called Prospect Management. I worked closely with the Marketing department, various university staff members at the centers across California and Washington. I implemented processes and created a manual for the position before I relocated to Dallas, Texas in Sept. 2007. This position gave me a passion and love working within the university environment. I am currently working in the Admissions office at UT Dallas and been under the Enrollment Management umbrella for almost seven years now.

I wrote my first “novel” with NaNoWriMo last November 2011 titled “Mosaic Stain”. I am hoping to do revisions of the novel and either to have it published or self-publish it someday. I’m also considering putting together a poetry anthology of my work.

What advice can you offer our current students?

I’d advice the incoming and current students to utilize the IGETC and CSUF transfer guide that is published with each course schedule. I used the IGETC from the very beginning and plotted out my entire three years at Fullerton College with each semester. I used these guides then, when it was time to transfer; I contacted Chapman University and began correspondence with them and their procedures. I think these two guides are underutilized and with possible guidance could help to grow the numbers of graduates/transfers from the community college. I think the students should be aware that you can receive an AA but it might not be the best plan to transfer. By following the IGETC you should be able to still attain the AA but also have more courses transfer to the institution. I counseled my younger sister in this regard.

I’d also recommend the students to take advantage of the resources at hand; the Writing center, teacher’s open office hours, the plays on campus. It’s more than just a commuter college but you have to invest your time in the relationships there and take responsibility for your own academic career. Also, to not be discouraged by the remedial courses but work through them and each class as one class closer to graduating/transferring.

Any other comments? Explain the reason why your parents or grandparents settled in Southern California and why you chose Fullerton College.

My family history originates from Missouri and North Texas. It was my grandparents on both sides that left their home to move to Southern California. Southern California offered opportunity and a chance to start over. For my mother’s parents; her parents divorced when she was three years old in Missouri. My grandmother Mildred Elkins left Missouri and her parents’ farm in Pyrmont (near Sedalia). She took the train out to Southern California with my mother and got a job working with the oranges. My grandpa Claude J. Elkins followed my grandmother out to Southern California. They remarried soon afterwards and settled in Norwalk. For my father’s side; my grandpa and grandma McKemie drove out from Dallas, Texas to Hawthorne, California in approximately 1939 and then, again in 1946. We believe that the reason that they came out after World War II was because my grandpa had a job with the RTD. We do not know the initial reason that they left Dallas in 1939. While my grandpa McKemie served in the army under General Patton’s 3rd Army division during World War II; my grandma McKemie moved back to Dallas, Texas to live with her parents’ with her two young sons. After he was discharged from the army; he met up with my grandma, father,and uncle in Dallas and they drove back to Hawthorne, California where they settled; and he worked for the RTD until retirement.

After graduating from El Dorado High school it was expected that I would attend first a community college; then, transfer into a four year university to complete my degree. Since, Fullerton College was the closest to both where I lived with my parents and to my work (Tall Mouse Arts & Crafts in Yorba Linda). I had also attended the Fullerton College Theatre festival throughout my high school career so, I was already familar with the campus.