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Atlantic Cape Creates Opportunity for Hammonton Family

May 16, 2012

After raising two children and caring for an aging parent, Susan Rivenbark, 43, decided to take the first step in pursuit of her dream to practice law: earn an associate degree at Atlantic Cape Community College.

“My professors inspired me to follow my dreams, even as a non-traditional student,” said Susan, president of Atlantic Cape’s Paralegal Studies Club.

In January 2012, Susan interned at a Hammonton law practice, an opportunity that eventually became a part-time job.

“Everything I’ve been taught [at Atlantic Cape] is exactly what I’m doing professionally,” Susan said.

On May 17, Susan will graduate from Atlantic Cape with more than her associate degree in Paralegal Studies—she will graduate beside her daughter, Ashley.

“My mom and I started college at the same time, which inspired her to press on with her dream,” Ashley said.  

A 2010 graduate of Atlantic County Institute of Technology, Ashley, 20, enrolled at Atlantic Cape through the NJ STARS program to study Psychology. During her community college career, she has become a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, Atlantic Cape’s radio station and Radio Club, and maintained a 3.8 GPA.

“I would like to be involved in marriage and relationship counseling or in a position that allows me to help people understand themselves better,” Ashley said.

Ashley’s sister, Caitlin, 18, has completed her first year at Atlantic Cape and her last year at ACIT through Atlantic Cape’s concurrent enrollment program. Like her sister, Caitlin plans to attend Atlantic Cape full time in the fall 2012 semester, to pursue an associate degree in Psychology to study stress immunology—the study of stress on the immune system.

“The girls plan to have their own practice as psychologists,” said Susan, proudly.

The Rivenbarks have taken composition, science and history classes together. Susan said they’ve brainstormed and problem-solved.

“They made me figure out the work. There were times I wanted to give up, but they kept pushing me,” Susan said.

This fall, Susan and Ashley will continue their education, as a team, at Rutgers@Atlantic Cape Community College, to earn their bachelor’s degrees in Liberal Studies. Susan plans to attend Rutgers law school and Ashley plans to earn her master’s degree in Psychology.

“My opportunity did start at Atlantic Cape. I interned and got a job! It opened a lot of doors for me, and I am very blessed,” Susan said.

Learn more about the Rutgers@Atlantic Cape degree completion program.