Ione. . . Colville. . . Seattle. . . San Diego. Ciera Botzheim, a former Ione/Colville Center Running Start student, is going places – all with an eye on earning a doctoral degree in forensic psychology. She’s currently enrolled at the California School of Forensic Studies at Alliant International University in Southern California.
Ciera enrolled in Running Start as a high school junior, but was determined to stay involved in her high school activities. “When I started doing Running Start, it seemed I had a lot of challenges to overcome. There was a huge transition between the work I had done in high school and the work I did in college. I wasn’t used to doing significant amounts of homework and managing my time wisely. Having high school classes and sports also were challenges.”
With discipline and the support of the center’s faculty and staff, Ciera thrived personally and academically. She was nominated as a member of the state’s community and technical colleges’ 2011 All-Washington Academic team, meeting then-Gov. Chris Gregoire at an annual awards ceremony in Olympia. “I wouldn’t have given up this opportunity for anything,” she says of enrolling in Running Start. “Every quarter and class I took helped me grow academically and as a person. I learned many new study habits and gained so many new outlooks on life.”
Running Start also served as Ciera’ pathway to transferring to the University of Washington, where she majored in psychology. She took the transition from Ione and Colville Centers to UW’s 700-acre campus in stride. “It didn’t take too long to get used to the size of campus, and I felt comfortable in my classes right away.” She credits Running Start for equipping her with the academic skills required to excel at a top four-year university.
Today, Ciera is just completing the first year of her four-year doctoral program. “I interviewed at several schools, but Alliant had the program I wanted. It’s year-round so I will get done sooner,” she explained.
But not with more challenges on the horizon: Ciera says she’ll be juggling school with a 30-hour practicum next fall. “It will be busy, but I’ll be okay. I know what to expect,” she says confidently.