UC Clermont

Rockelle Ober

Change of Plans

When life altered Rockelle Ober's direction, she found a new one at UC Clermont.

In the summer of 2017, Rockelle Ober was in tears as she drove home from her final day of work as an intern at Toyota's corporate office in Blue Ash. The UC Clermont and Lindner College of Business graduate didn't want her time at the auto giant to end. She had found the sales and marketing internship through a UC career fair and spent the summer helping launch the 2018 Camry reboot via a social media campaign.

"I traveled with my mentor, did meaningful work and loved it," Ober said. "I didn't want to leave."

Luckily, the separation was short-lived. In September 2017, Toyota offered Ober a full-time position in their management trainee program; she graduated from UC with her bachelor's degree in April and will start her new job in July. For the Anderson High School graduate, it's a happy ending (and new beginning) that only became possible when another dream fell through.

Ober had long wanted and planned to attend the University of Tennessee; she was accepted, but the school lost funding for her out-of-state scholarship just before she was scheduled to begin her first semester. Unable to afford the tuition but still wanting to go to college, she called UC and was directed to Clermont. Though her older brother, Don Ober, is a graduate of UC Clermont's Bachelor of Technical and Applied Studies, Rockelle wasn't sure what to expect.

"I wasn't too excited about it. I only planned to stay for one semester," Ober said. "Then I got on campus and absolutely loved it. I was so surprised by all that the college offered."

In fact, Ober stayed for two years to earn her associate degree in Pre-Business Administration. In particular, she said it was the UC Clermont professors that made the experience different from that of students in larger institutions. "My classes were small enough that I got to know my professors," Ober said. "They were personally involved with students and focused on making me as successful as I wanted to be. They really care and helped prepare me for life, not just a class or major; they wanted to help in any way."

Ober said she felt prepared and capable when she transferred from UC Clermont to UC's Uptown Campus, and that UC transition advisors kept the process simple. Ober also received a Pell Grant for all four years of college, which covered half of her tuition costs, and worked full time during her studies to cover the rest — leaving her with no loans to pay back after graduation. In the end, she said that keeping an open mind — even when life changed her path — has helped her find a future even brighter than the one she originally imagined.

"I would tell other UC Clermont students who are just starting out and unsure to be open-minded and get involved with your professors," Ober said. "Build as many relationships as you can. It's going to be more than OK; it will be great."