Kacey Montgomery: ‘Everyone belongs here’

woman standing in front of a bulding

Kacey Montgomery was working in a kitchen, and it felt like a dead-end. She knew she needed something different.

"I realized that I just didn't see myself staying in the kitchen long-term and that I wanted a change," said Montgomery. "I wanted to do something creative."

Montgomery was in her late 20s when she decided to enroll at LB to study graphic design. She refers to that single choice as the best decision she’s ever made.

Montgomery raves about the design program and Lewis Franklin, the visual communications program chair, has been especially impactful on her journey at LBCC. “I’d recommend this program to anyone,” said Montgomery. “It’s been a really great experience.”

Fast forward to 2021 and Montgomery, who is scheduled to graduate this year, is now using her graphic design education on the LBCC campus as the Marketing Specialist for the Mid-Valley STEM CTE Hub and the host of the “Closing the Gap” podcast.

The Mid-Valley STEM CTE Hub is located in the heart of LBCC’s Albany campus and helps get kids interested in CTE programs that they can study right here at Linn-Benton Community College.

The goal of the podcast is to highlight professional women and gender minorities from our region who are working in the STEM and Trades fields. Feature guests have included a chef, a postdoctoral fellow in microbiology at OSU, an equipment operator at Knife River, and many more.

“It’s something that I wish I would have had growing up because higher education can feel really daunting sometimes,” said Montgomery. “I like the idea of making it a little less scary. My goal is to make it a lot more accessible.”

And Montgomery isn’t alone in her quest. Most of the potential interviewees she reaches out to share her passion. She recalls reaching out to one woman who responded, “I can't believe you emailed me right now because I was just thinking today at work, ‘how do we get more women involved?’”

The podcast has been an extremely rewarding experience for Montgomery so far. Her goal is to hopefully release more than one episode a month and you can expect to see a new video series starting up soon as well.

“I hope our listeners learn something and that it is humanizing,” said Montgomery. “I've learned a lot myself doing this and I hope they realize that these jobs exist, these opportunities exist, and that everyone belongs here.”

As Montgomery prepares for her next podcast episode it’s clear she is finally somewhere that doesn’t feel like a dead-end; she is somewhere where she belongs, thanks to the start she got at LB. “I now have my dream job,” she said.

For more information on the CTE programs that LBCC offers, visit our website. To learn more about “Closing the Gap” and the Mid-Valley STEM CTE Hub, visit their website.