March 23, 2018 4:02 pm

From a young age, Pierce College student Andrew Sanchez-Rincon always knew what he wanted to be when he grew up. It was important to him to choose a career path that would allow him to make a real difference in the community and, since his freshman year of high school, he knew he wanted to become a police officer. When he chose to enter the Running Start program at Pierce College Fort Steilacoom during his senior year of high school, his goals only became more clear and focused.

“Being part of Running Start gave me so much insight into my career path,” he said. “I’ve known for a long time that I want to be a cop, but I was able to learn more and more about the field every day at Pierce.”

Sanchez-Rincon is getting ready to graduate this spring with his transferable Associate of Arts degree and certificate in criminal justice. He currently serves as the Vice President of the college’s Criminal Justice Club. “My experience in the Criminal Justice program has been just great,” he said. “I’ve been able to make friends with people who are interested in the same field and who want to make a difference in the same way I do. My professor, Bobi Foster-Grahler, made my time in the program just wonderful.”

As a Running Start student, it was not easy taking college and high school classes simultaneously, but the experience taught Sanchez-Rincon the importance of time management and organization. “I never had problems in high school, but the most challenging part of being in Running Start was the demanding workload from each class,” he said.

It didn’t take him long to take advantage of the resources available to students to help them be successful. “I used the library a lot, and the librarians were so helpful by showing me how to search for good, scholarly sources,” Sanchez-Rincon said. “They were a huge help when I had research papers to write.”

He believes his time as a Running Start student has prepared him well for his next step of transferring to finish his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice at the University of Washington. “Being in Running Start really changed me as a student,” he said. “It really helped to challenge me and show me how to be the best student I can be.”