HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — In a world where it can be argued that life skills are equally important as knowledge, Niki Kelly said she owes a number of her life skills to her time at Wallace State Community College.

Kelly, an HR Specialist at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, graduated from Wallace State in 2013 with an associate degree in General Studies. She transferred to the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Communications Management.

It was during her time at Wallace State where she learned skills that would help her as she continued with her education and into her professional career.

“I was affected positively by the vast majority of my professors at Wallace State, but a few key players come to mind,” she said. “Connie Briehn was my first inspiration at Wallace State. She was my Biology 101 teacher and helped me understand that my passion would drive my success. I was terrified of how well I would do in my college level courses, but with her guidance I learned how to determine what were my best study styles and how to use them to succeed in my college career. It ended up being how I would graduate with my bachelor’s degree on the dean’s list.”

Another influence, she said, was English instructor Michael Salerno. “He taught me that introspective reading would change my life, and that intense group discussions about the books that you read can bet cathartic therapy that will stay with your forever,” Kelly said.

Kelly added she also learned about professional standards while at Wallace State, as well as getting to try out a few different areas with the required courses that gave her a better idea of what she wanted to do with her life.

“I learned a lot academically, but I also learned a lot of valuable life lessons during my time there,” she said. “My work ethic really came into its own during my time at Wallace State. I learned that hard work pays off, that dedication will be your best friend while you’re trying to reach your goals, and that you have to learn how you best learn to be successful. These are all lessons that I utilize daily in every aspect of my life and that continue to help me succeed. I don’t believe I would be where I am today without it.”

While the STARS statewide articulation agreement guarantees transfer of credits to the public colleges and universities in the state, Wallace State also has joint admission agreements with a number of other institutions, including UAB, UAH, Samford, Birmingham-Southern, and Montevallo.

Wallace State’s Career Services Center coordinates numerous co-op and apprenticeship programs in the region and around the state, including a co-op program with the Space and Rocket Center, the Mercedes-Benz Tech Co-Op Program, the FAME program, and many more.

For more information about Wallace State, visit or call 256.352.8000.