Judy Cole—A welcome face in a busy place.
Judy Cole considers herself a grandmotherly figure to Crafton Hills College students. The Bloomington resident has been a fixture on campus for 27 years. And although each day is different, Cole is eager to work with all who walk through CHC’s Tutoring Center where she’s employed as a learning resource assistant.
Crafton is “a wonderful environment,” she said. “In the years I have been here, I don’t think I have had an unpleasant experience with any instructor or student.
“I love all my students – especially the tutors because those are the ones that I get to know the most.”
Cole, 75, herself has experience as a community college student having graduated from San Bernardino Valley College with a degree in restaurant management.
After graduation, Cole put her degree to use for some time working in food services before switching careers after a full-time opportunity became available at Crafton in the Tutoring Center. She never looked back.
Cole is often the first person students see as they walk into the center and does her best to address questions as they arise. Her most important job – she said – is to make students feel as comfortable as possible.
Cole does her best to understand the many challenges college students face today. For example, senior-aged Roadrunners could have trouble adjusting to working with computers while those more versed with the technology have it a bit easier.
“When I started, we were working with big floppy discs,” Cole said with a chuckle. “Younger kids today fly through it but older students who haven’t done much with a computer struggle because they have to start with the basics. I can help them with “the basics,” but our tutors – who are wonderful – can help with the rest.”
Cole may not see the immediate impact of her work, but she shared stories of Crafton alumni returning to campus years later to thank her. That’s the fuel that keeps her going considering others in their 70s may have already retired from their desired career choice.
And while the grandmother of nine and great-grandmother of 13 may not have much time for hobbies – she does love Korean dramas and seeing shows at the Palm Canyon Theater in Palm Springs – her enthusiasm for the job never waivers.
“The main advice I give my students is to never give up and search for help when you need it,” Cole said. “It’s all about finding your balance.”