Rock Valley College Introduces 2022 Commencement Speaker

Rock Valley College is proud to introduce our 2022 Commencement speaker, Kaycia Zimmerman. Kaycia is an incredibly involved member of the RVC community and will be graduating with her Associate of Arts degree. Kaycia graduated from Winnebago High School in 2020 before starting her journey at RVC. During her time at RVC, Kaycia has been a member of the NJCAA Conference and Region Champion Women's Basketball Team, the President of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), Vice President of Service for Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), and on the Dean's List.

Kaycia is a true leader on RVC's campus. "When she first spoke in my Fundamentals of Communication course, I was blown away by the attention to detail in her work and her desire to improve," said Dr. Bob Betts, RVC Professor of Speech. "She is one of those people that achieve at a very high level while also wanting to know how someone gets from a 97% to 100%. That quality of never being satisfied or never settling is her superpower."

Not only does Kaycia excel in the classroom, but she cares about and shows a tremendous amount of empathy to her classmates. "She consistently encouraged students with social anxiety and communication apprehension to see the strengths in what they were doing," said Dr. Bob Betts. "We hope our students will go on and change the world by marrying their gifts with an eye toward building community, and Kaycia Zimmerman is on the fast track to doing that."

One of the driving forces behind choosing to attend RVC was the opportunity to play basketball here. Kaycia had been on the fence about attending RVC, but after coming to campus for a visit, she was sold. "After seeing the athletic facilities and classrooms, I decided it would be good for me to go here," said Kaycia.

Basketball not only brought Kaycia to RVC, but has played a crucial role in her time here and is a part of some of her favorite memories.

"When we won our conference and were able to play that championship game on our home court and cut down our nets, that's an experience as an athlete that's really amazing. Not only did we win, but we did it on our own court with our own crowd," said Kaycia. "It was pretty exciting and something I'll remember forever."

Kaycia has also left an impact on her team. RVC Head Women's Basketball Coach, Darryl Watkins, describes Kaycia as "loyal, responsible, and always full of positive energy." Kaycia is the type of student and athlete that simply stands out. "Kaycia is an amazing young lady who has one of the most promising futures ahead of her," said Coach Darryl Watkins.

Kaycia will be transferring to the University of Wisconsin – Madison this fall and plans to major in Physical Education. Kaycia's involvement in athletics and love of sports lead to her interest in Physical Education. 

"Some people dread going to gym class. I was never one of those students, but I know a lot of people feel self-conscious about their body image in PE class," said Kaycia Zimmerman. "I want to make PE a place that no one hates coming to every day. I want to share my experience as a female athlete and create a welcoming environment for all my students."

Attending UW-Madison has always been Kaycia's goal. She's been a fan since she was eight years old. She chose to pursue RVC before applying to UW-Madison, though. "I chose RVC, because I thought it would help financially with the cost of eventually going to a big school," said Kaycia. "But also I had this personal fear of rejection from UW back then. I will never know if I would have been admitted or not because I didn't apply as a high school senior." RVC served as the perfect place for Kaycia to prepare and transition to UW-Madison, and she enjoyed the sense of community she was able to feel while here. 

"RVC has been an awesome stepping stone and was a great place for me to start my collegiate journey," said Kaycia. "I wouldn't trade it for anything. The friendships and connections I've made have all been awesome for the start of my college career. I'm really glad that I chose to come to RVC."