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Katelyn McDowell in a tulip field

Alumni Spotlight | Katelyn McDowell ‘17

“I grew up in the Yakima Valley and from a young age, I had always planned on attending Yakima Valley College. I can’t remember a time where YVC wasn’t in my plans. It was affordable, close to home and familiar, which is something I really valued,” said Katelyn McDowell ’17. 

McDowell, who grew up in East Valley, took advantage of YVC’s Running Start program while in high school.

“I attended YVC with my tuition being paid by the Running Start program at EVHS,” said McDowell. “This was so immensely helpful as I didn’t have to take out any loans for my first two years at college, which saved me thousands of dollars. This allowed me to put money towards myself and my self-care.” 

After graduation, she moved to Southern California and earned her bachelor’s degree in communication studies from California State University and later a master’s in educational psychology from the University of Southern Maine.

Since graduating last year, McDowell has been working on becoming a board certified behavior analyst and lead technician at Autism Spectrum Therapies in Beaverton, Ore.

“YVC prepared me for my job by teaching me about time management and how to prioritize things,” she said. “The most important thing I learned from YVC is to enjoy things while you can, even the hard moments. Even when you’re stressed from classes, work or your personal life, you’re going to miss it once it’s over!”