“Don’t give up on your dreams or your education,” advises Jennifer Marshall McIlquham, Rappahannock Community College alumna and published author. After graduating from high school, McIIquham headed to a four-year college to continue her education. Due to some family illnesses, she didn’t return her sophomore year, and she enrolled in RCC to take courses that would provide transfer credit.
The English class she took at RCC rekindled her interest in writing, honed her communication skills, and offered a broader sense of the world. McIlquham recalls the professor discussing her French heritage and taking them on a trip to Richmond to the theater to see “Les Miserables.” The class strengthened her interest in language, culture, and travel she said.
Knowing she wanted to continue her education and not lose momentum, McIlquham earned RCC credits that helped her seamlessly transfer to the University of Richmond where she majored in history. “I thought I would go to law school after graduation but plans change, and I started writing a novel,” said McIlquham. Her novel, Christmas Cookies on a Cruise Ship, inspired by a family cruise, was published in November 2020 under the pen name Parker Fairchild. She met her husband on that cruise, and as her mother says, “they haven’t stopped talking since.”
“RCC is the best option when you’re not sure what you want to do in life but you know you need to keep moving forward with your education,” said McIlquham. “You gain a good foundation, and it doesn’t cost as much. Plus, RCC has smaller classes so you get more hands-on experiences while figuring out what you want to study.”
In addition to her book, McIlquham writes articles, blogs, and is a social media copywriter. Her work can be found at www.parkerfairchild.com.