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Local college holds first open house since pandemic outbreak

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) - The College of Eastern Idaho (CEI) is preparing for its first open house on Tuesday, since COVID-19 reached Eastern Idaho. In previous years, school officials say more than 400 people came through to experience what the community college can offer.

Hailey Mack, the Associate Dean of Enrollment for the school, says the school can offer a different avenue for someone to continue their education.

"I started at community college when I went to college, and I feel like it's a great launching off point. For students who are maybe unsure of going to school and so forth. But it also offers things to those community members who aren't looking for those two year degrees and so forth," Mack says.

Mack says the school tries to offer students a more hands on approach to their education.

"You can't learn to weld from a textbook. You can't learn to build a computer. You can't learn so many cybersecurity things from a textbook," Mack said. "So you have to do it and experience it and learn that way. So a lot of our students get experience hands on experience while going to school here."

This hands on approach has helped Rocio Galvin in her studies on campus.

"I learn a lot better hands on than I do just book learning and tests," Galvin said. "So that's one of the things that I really like more about, like the labs and the actual like hands on being able to work with things, you know, not just theoretical, but having it in your hands and knowing what could happen or what potentially not to do."

She adds the school has many different labs for the different fields to help guide a student to be better prepared for the workforce.

"I hear that the automotive is one of the best parts to do that with just because they actually have vehicles that they get either from themselves or in the community that they just take in and work on diagnose and kind of go through that," Galvin said. "So I've heard a lot of good things about the automotive program nursing right now, where I'm going into the surgical tech program, I've been taking a lot of the pre-requisites and biology courses, but I have gone through the CNA course here on campus and that was that was pretty educational, pretty interesting as well."

Cheyenne Odenthal, the Admissions coordinator in the school's student affairs office, says they hope to help students feel better about furthering their education.

"We're really trying to break those barriers, any kind of fear that student has," Odenthal said.

She says the open house will also remind people of the role the college can play in the area.

"It's our goal (to help students feel good about furthering their education) because we know here at a community college, we have a community that is full of diversity, which means we have diverse needs and we can accommodate those diverse needs," Odenthal said. "And that's what we're going to show here, is the many different resources that we can that we have for our students, our future students, our current students and even our alumni. We just want to break those fear barriers for our students and make sure that, you know, cost can be a very scary thing when you're going into college, no matter what kind of college it is."

Odenthal adds the event really is for everyone in the area.

"Our community loves it because they know that we're here for them and we take such joy and pride in meeting our communities, talking to our community, answering those questions and breaking those barriers," Odenthal said. "We love our community so much."

The open house is Tuesday night from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. It will take place in various buildings on campus, but the starting point will be in the Christofferson building or building 3 on campus. It's the building facing the Ammon Walmart. It is free to attend, and all are welcome.

Article Topic Follows: Idaho Falls
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Braydon Wilson

Braydon is a reporter for Local News 8 and Eyewitness News 3.

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