For Immediate Release
June 15, 2015

Former teen dad overcomes addiction and lack of college readiness to become an engineer.

Cheyenne DeFrates' journey to college completion has been anything but traditional.

When alcohol addiction led to a 25-month prison sentence for the former teen dad, he decided it was time to turn his life around.

After completing a rigorous treatment program for substance abuse while incarcerated, Cheyenne began looking to better himself in every way possible. The desire to change his life led him to LCC, where he started his path to an engineering degree at the lowest level of pre-college math.

Deane T. Morrison, Engineering Instructor at LCC, said that Cheyenne is the first student to complete a transfer degree in engineering after placing into Math 078.

“To me,” Morrison writes, “this is a special accomplishment.”

After receiving his Associate of Science Transfer degree in Engineering from LCC this quarter, DeFrates is headed to Washington State University Vancouver. The prestigious Community College President's Award he received will cover the cost of full-time tuition.

DeFrates credits LCC faculty with helping him achieve his goal of becoming a provider for his wife and four children. His instructors encouraged him to first recognize and then hone his abilities.

“Overall, my background and experience have taught me that humility, knowing my limitations, and cultivating my strengths are the keys to success. My experience at LCC has proven to me that I don't have to be a product of my past,” he says.

After earning his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from WSUV in spring 2017, DeFrates hopes to secure employment in the region.

Cheyene Defrates

LCC student Cheyenne DeFrates was awarded the prestigious Community College President's Award.

He's headed for WSUV in the fall to complete his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering.

More student awards




News and Media Contact:

 Wendy Hall, Vice President, Effectiveness & College Relations, Lower Columbia College


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