Tyler Kochirka: #CommunityCollegeBecause ... education should be affordable

Stasia Lopez's picture

Tyler Kochirka is a 2018 graduate of the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) West Hills Center/North. He received an Associate of Science in General Studies. He recently graduated from Robert Morris University with a Bachelor’s in Organizational Leadership. Currently, he serves as Vice-President on the Sto-Rox School Board. 

Tyler Kochirka: #CommunityCollegeBecause ... education should be affordable

How did you choose your major? What motivated you to choose that field/profession? 
I chose General Studies because I didn’t know what I wanted to do at the time. That’s what I liked about CCAC. I could earn a college degree that would transfer to other colleges and universities even if I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do. 

What did you enjoy about attending CCAC? Any memorable moment to share? 
Being a part of the student ambassadors program at West Hills. I also enjoyed hanging out with my friends in the student life office playing uno every day. 

How involved were you at CCAC? Did you study abroad? Did you have internships or Co-Ops? Clinicals and/or practicums? Were you a part of any clubs, sports, or extracurriculars? 
At CCAC West Hills, I was a student ambassador. I also was a part of the West Hills Student Activities Board, and was one of the founding members of the West Hills Student Government Association. 

Did any of these experiences lead you into realizing your passions for work and career? 
Yes. Working as a Student Ambassador and helping out with events, open houses, and new student orientation is what I think brought me to my degree in organizational leadership. 

Tyler Kochirka: #CommunityCollegeBecause ... education should be affordable

What (transferable) skills did you gain that you could take into a workplace? 
I definitely developed my leadership skills being at West Hills Center. I also developed my communication skills and people skills. Leading new students in groups helped me to branch out and gain more confidence talking to strangers. 

What are you hoping to do next? What would you like to do professionally? 
My goal is to land a professional job, but always remain in politics in some way. I interned for a state representative political race, as well as ran my own candidacy to be a School Director for Sto-Rox. I would like to be a US Senator one day and maybe President. 

How do you manage stress (most especially during these uncertain times)? 
I manage stress by taking time to relax. I wake up earlier than what I have to just so I can take time to sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee or go for a walk outside. Anything I can think of to clear my mind. Oh, and play with my newly rescued dog!

Tyler Kochirka: #CommunityCollegeBecause ... education should be affordable

What do you want prospective college students to know—what advice do you have for them? 
Don’t worry if people are “ahead of you.” I used to think that I needed to earn my Bachelor’s degree within four years–well it took me five! We all have our own paths. Focus on short term goals that you can accomplish to lay the foundation for your future. 

Who inspires you and why? Do you have any mentors or people of influence in your life? 
I gain inspiration from those around me. When I see people working hard and succeeding, it inspires me to work harder. 

Tyler Kochirka: #CommunityCollegeBecause ... education should be affordable

Anything else you’d like for us to know? 
CCAC was one of my favorite times in life, so far. I looked forward to class every day. More importantly, I enjoyed hanging with friends in the student lounge playing uno, working on homework, watching Netflix, and planning our annual carnival!

#CommunityCollegeBecause... education should be affordable. Community college gives a great foundation for students to figure out their journey without adding on the financial burden.

Tyler Kochirka: #CommunityCollegeBecause ... education should be affordable


Read more stories, and why community college is so important, on #CommunityCollegeBecause:




Stasia Lopez is the Global Education Editor for Wandering Educators and is also a Director of Career Services at the Community College of Allegheny County. She graduated with her Master’s degree in Educational Leadership in Higher Education and Student Affairs from Western Michigan University in 2013 and earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management from Robert Morris University. Stasia is passionate about international education, travel, college to career topics and loves working on a college campus. She’s lived in four different U.S. states (Florida, Michigan, South Carolina, and Pennsylvania) and also studied and lived abroad in Rome, Italy. Stasia lives in the Pittsburgh area with her husband, Fernando, precious daughter, Maya, and playful kitty-cat Zorro.


All photos courtesy and copyright Tyler Kochirka