Graduate's Major: 
Microbiology
Graduate Degrees: 
Bachelor's degrees in Microbiology and Medical Technology; Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology
Q&A with Brian Koeneman, Clinical Director for Laboratory Sciences of AZ
Originally published for the MCC 50th Anniversary Website, Spring 2015

1) Please describe your affiliation with MCC. 

As a senior in high school I had a few required classes left to complete for graduation and had to make a decision regarding what to do with my extra time before starting college the following year.  Options of a part-time job, extra-curricular activities, and elective high school classes were considered, then a family friend suggested enrolling at MCC.  After investigating the criteria, availability, and quality of courses I decided to dual enroll in high school and MCC to get an early start on my core college requirements.  After two years I transferred my MCC credits to a university, continued my education and went on to earn a Ph.D.  Now I have the opportunity to give back to MCC by serving as a member of the Alumni Advisory Board.   

2) Thinking historically, what is your single most positive memory or impression of MCC? This can be personal, professional, or any combination, but please be as specific as you can.

I remember getting together with classmates and forming study groups where we would quiz and encourage each other.  I found that the classes in which I did the best were the ones that had the most active study groups.  We would get together and meet in the library, coffee shop, or on the lawn and go over class materials; we would even help each other with other classes.  

3) How important is MCC to the fabric and development of the community? What has it meant for Mesa and surrounding communities to have MCC as it’s community college?

MCC has been the beacon for affordable high-quality education for the last 50 years and is available to every member of the community.  By offering 2-year programs (that can transfer credits to universities), trade programs, and personal enrichment classes, MCC builds and strengthens the community by developing leaders, preparing students for their careers, and connecting organizations with volunteers.  For Mesa and surrounding communities, MCC is a gateway to personal growth.

4) Looking ahead, how can MCC stay an important, vital force in Mesa and the East Valley? What is MCC’s biggest challenge over the next 50 years, and what will be it’s best opportunity?

MCC will remain a vital force in Mesa by providing course content that meets the changing educational needs of the community.  To be able to keep up the educational demands MCC must be able to recruit and retain motivated and enthusiastic instructors.  One of MCC’s biggest challenges will be to adapt to the increasingly competitive market by utilizing the 50 years of experience to keep their programs on the cutting edge.  With changes come opportunities to showcase the experience and inroads that MCC has made over the last 50 years and continue to prove that trendy institutions come and go, but MCC is where everyone will be looking to 50 years from now.  MCC should not be the best kept secret in the East Valley, it needs to publicize the resources that are available to every member of the community.

5) Would you recommend MCC, and why? What advice would you give those considering MCC as their educational provider?

I always recommend MCC as an excellent option for those starting college, returning to college, and looking to change careers.  MCC allows students to get the most out of their education by providing an array of opportunities, for example, direct access to faculty, student clubs, and career support.  My advice to students is to take advantage of all that MCC has to offer.  For the students who already know what career they want to pursue, they get the basic requirements in an accessible and invigorating atmosphere at MCC and can define their path.  For the students who want to explore occupations and careers, like I did, MCC offers resources to find individualized growth opportunities.  While at MCC put forth your best effort in order to get the best results.