WSCC announces the June Student of the Month


Washington State Community College student Shayla Lightfritz has her own personal fan club. Her four children are intently watching her tackle the challenge of college. Four little girls who are cheering her every accomplishment, accolade, and even the little feats of everyday life that, sum total, equal the college experience. And this month, her squad is cheering her designation as June’s student of the month.

Lightfritz didn’t take the direct path to college; in fact, she had a minor detour in high school when she dropped out. But in 2010, the Marietta resident refocused her life and enrolled in a GED program and ultimately earned her high school diploma. Her sights were next set on college.

In the fall of 2016, she enrolled at WSCC. As an avid gamer and someone who has been building computers since she was 10, she decided on a dual major — Computer Support Technician and Cyber Security & Investigation. Both degrees are career paths that are traditionally male-dominated, but Lightfritz is unfettered by perceptions and expectations. In fact, she doesn’t see this as an obstacle at all and instead, believes it’s an opportunity. “I will be a standout immediately,” she quipped.

In the meantime, she’s not waiting around for prospective employers to see her as a standout and is establishing herself as a remarkable student by twice making the President’s List (4.0 GPA). “She is uniquely determined to be successful,” said Lightfritz’s advisor and Professor of Computer Science Esther Salem. “She’s demonstrating to her daughters how to be comfortable as a woman pursuing a career in a traditionally male-dominated field.” Salem went on to describe Lightfritz as a true leader. “She’s determined to assist other students to be successful as well, and takes it upon herself to reach out to other students in the class who may be struggling to master course content.”

The motivation that drives Lightfritz’s success, is the group that cheers the loudest for her every success. “I work that much harder knowing how proud they are when I do well. I also want to show them how a woman can be very successful if they work hard,” Lightfritz confessed.

Shayla has big aspirations for herself and has laid out a strong five-year plan. She’s on track to graduate from WSCC in the spring of 2020, then she will pursue a bachelor’s degree. She’s also currently learning Japanese and plans to capitalize on that skill to earn extra income by translating Japanese comic books and graphic novels into English, as well as spend a year in Japan teaching English.