Melissa Upchurch

A life-changing experience at Grossmont College

Melissa UpchurchFor Melissa Upchurch, 36, enrolling at Grossmont College in the summer of 2021 was a kind of homecoming. Two decades earlier, she had attended the college as a 16-year-old Grossmont High School student, taking college-level classes while also completing high school courses. “I had a huge amount of ambition to really put a lot of emphasis into my education … but then I wound up having a baby and could not continue,” said Upchurch, who obtained her high school diploma prior to having her first child when she was 18.

Upchurch developed a career in the insurance industry, and later became an office manager for a medical office, where she handled patient claims. But then, expecting twins and experiencing a challenging pregnancy, Upchurch left her career in 2019. Two years later, she returned to Grossmont.

“I enrolled in classes over the summer just to get my toe in the water and make sure I was still a functioning student, and I just fell right in,” she said. “It’s been a blast.”

Upchurch, a La Mesa resident, now intends to apply to Grossmont’s Cardiovascular Technology program, where she hopes to develop an expertise in adult echocardiography, a diagnostic test that uses sound waves to create a moving picture of a patient’s heart.

Upchurch received a Grossmont College Barnes & Noble Textbook Award in the spring of 2022. “The scholarship makes me feel validated,” she said. “I feel like I am on the right path.” 


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