Betty Jo Oliver “Take that Human Development class with Benny Blades. You’ll learn how to navigate this campus and all the programs it can offer you.”

The ‘real world.’ People often talk about it as though it’s something that happens to you after you graduate. But for Betty Jo Oliver, the life experience she’s had at SMC is about as real as it gets. “Last semester I was president of the SMC Business Club and was doing an internship for General Motors. It was incredibly hard work,” says the returning student who was one of the pioneers of music videos in the early 80s. “I was taking 16 units at the time and was public relations coordinator for the launch of a new Pontiac car. I had two assistants from France and this whole team of great people who worked with Bruce Smith, SMC’s Public Information Officer. I think we all did a very professional job.”

Through her studies at the International Business Center, Betty has learned practical applications for marketing and business principles in a world about as real—and intense—as it gets. “My workload has been huge, but I’ve really felt like a high school kid again,” says the mother of a 30-year-old daughter. “I’ve had so much fun doing this and working with all these young people with such fresh ideas. And I’ll be so pleased when I get my degree because people will take me more seriously and I can go where I want.” Where Betty’s going next is to USC to finish up her studies in international business. But her ultimate goal is a little closer to home.

“I’d like to go back to my home state, New Mexico, and perhaps work towards getting a community college started there,” says Betty, among whose successes are five years of sobriety. “A university can be intimidating to so many people and I think helping to create a college like SMC would be a wonderful thing to do. I’ve learned so much here and I would love to be able to carry some of that knowledge back home some day.”

Read more stories from present and past years in the SMC Student Spotlight Archive.