Circumstances beyond her control led Emma Hockman to Laurel Ridge, but the experience has far exceeded her expectations.
Hockman had already finished many of her degree requirements through dual-enrollment classes before her 2020 graduation from Central High School. She will graduate this spring with an associate degree in science.
Hockman had originally planned to go to Kansas State University to study meat science, but after her father, Thad, had a stroke, she had to reconsider. Instead of moving to Kansas, she instead became his caregiver and enrolled at Laurel Ridge. Thankfully, her dad has since made great progress.
“It was certainly the right choice,” Hockman said. “I’ve really been surprised by how much I’ve enjoyed my time here. I thought I would go to class and then go back home. Instead, I’ve really enjoyed the environment and spending the whole day on campus. I didn’t expect there to be so many opportunities through Student Life and clubs on campus.”
When she transfers to Virginia Tech, Hockman plans to study animal science, a field she became interested in after participating in agricultural programs while in high school.
“I started judging meat through FFA,” she said. “It also gave me the opportunity to do a lot of traveling.”
Through FFA and 4-H, Hockman studied different aspects of the meat science industry and what USDA graders do when inspecting meat.
“That was a lot of fun for me,” she said. “I think it would be a very fulfilling career because I will be able to ensure that the products reach the consumer’s dinner table without losing quality and free from adulteration and food-borne pathogens, while also supporting those working in agriculture.”
She’s taken a trip on the Student Life Mystery Bus and is a member of the STEM Club.
While at Laurel Ridge, Hockman has benefited from several scholarships – the Lori Swortzel Principal’s Scholarship, the Rance Lee Spellman Memorial Endowed Scholarship and the Clifton and Sandra Good Endowed Scholarship. She also received numerous community scholarships.
“These have been incredibly helpful and I’m more grateful for them than I can even express because I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without them,” she said.
Explore career pathways at Laurel Ridge at laurelridge.edu/explore.
Laurel Ridge Community College was known as Lord Fairfax Community College until June 2022. For consistency purposes, the college will be referenced as Laurel Ridge going forward.