Mark Riffenburg

Mark Riffenburg




American Studies

Favorite course/teacher:

I've had two classes with Professor Mark Clinton, foreign policy and political science. He's a really good instructor. He's got political views that are far left of mine, despite my being a very strong democrat. He's sincere in his beliefs but at the same time he allows people to disagree with him, as long as you have a rationale to back it up, and he teaches in a way that encourages discussion.

Most meaningful encounter at HCC:

Probably with the college community. I feel as though the people here are very down to earth cause they know everyone is here for the same reason. Everyone is here to better themselves, and you see it in the classroom; they're all helping each other out the best that they can. In my English class, we have lots of really good discussions on a wide variety of topics, and everyone is willing to listen to each other's viewpoints and everyone understands that everyone's coming from a different place in their lives, and the goal is always just to better themselves, so there's a lot of cooperation in that way.

Why does education matter to you?

It's really the cornerstone of a successful life. President Obama just recently, at the White House Easter Egg Roll -- the entire theme of it was early childhood literacy -- he said, if you can read and you can write, the whole world opens up to you; that's a very basic skill but it's the truth when it comes to education down the line. Doors open the more education you get and it's incredibly important that people are passionate about their education and that we make sure people of all ages can really get excited about learning and progressing themselves intellectually.

What is your favorite thing about HCC?

I like HCC cause it's an affordable option for people who are trying to get ahead. Holyoke Community College offers a high level of education while at the same time being affordable and not necessarily burying you in debt for the future.

Where are you going from here?

I am excited about my recent appointed to serve as Deputy Treasurer for the City of Holyoke. After HCC, I'll hopefully be transfering to a four-year college and commuting to school. My recent campaign leads me to believe that politics are definitely in my future.


Holyoke Community College
303 Homestead Ave. Holyoke, MA 01040