This year marks the 50th Anniversary of Rappahannock Community College. RCC graduates form the backbone of our local economy—our healthcare providers, bankers, lawyers, small business owners and trades-people. It’s hard to go through your day without being served by an RCC alum is some way. RCC’s Faces of 50 spotlights our alum, like Gustavo Ochoa. 

While attending Richmond County’s Rappahannock High School, Gustavo Ochoa took advantage of the Rappahannock Community College (RCC) dual enrollment program that allows high school students to take college-level courses and earn college credits. 

Gustavo’s passion for engineering was ignited while studying under RCC pre-engineering professor Tom Danaher. “I’ve learned a lot from Professor Danaher, in particular his own experiences such as working with nuclear reactors,” he said.

He also credits RCC professors Dr. Tom Mosca and Lekh Adhikari for instilling interest and knowledge in calculus and chemistry, which he feels will help him as he continues his studies in engineering. “I’ve always like anything engineering – especially if it has to do with cars,” he adds.

Gustavo was accepted into Virginia Tech’s highly competitive mechanical engineering program and will head to Blacksburg this fall. He is the first in his family to attend college and he said he is ready. “Virginia Tech was my only choice because it’s the best,” commented Gustavo. “I started at RCC because money was tight and I could get a jump on credits right here at home.”

After he graduates from college, Gustavo hopes to work in engineering in “a small city, but maybe not as small as Warsaw” or to join the United States Navy.

When asked what advice he would give to students considering RCC, Gustavo replied, “People get intimidated by college, but if they stay focused at what they do and not look at other programs, it isn’t all that intimidating. Learn to focus and you can get through it.”

Rappahannock Community College is celebrating 50 years of breaking down barriers to education in the Middle Peninsula and Northern Neck. Five degrees, 6 certificates, and 26 career and workforce studies programs are offered through RCC, in addition to nearly 40 guaranteed admissions agreements with colleges and universities across the state and region. For more information, visit