Lana and Josh in their caps and gowns in front of the Flatirons

Couple Graduates from CU Boulder, Starts Their Careers

When Lana Milijasevic and Josh Ruchwarger enrolled separately in a biology class at Front Range Community College in 2016, they didn’t expect to find love.

“I spotted Josh pretty early in the semester, but he always went to class and then left campus to go to work, so I didn’t get to know him right away,” says Lana, who grew up in the Boulder area and graduated from Boulder High School in 2014.

Indeed Josh—who had graduated from Centaurus High School in Lafayette, Colorado, in 2009—was putting himself through college and working full time at an Apple store. That class at FRCC was his first, having resumed his academic endeavors after a few bumps in the road during his first stint at the University of Colorado-Boulder (CU).

The couple’s love story did not begin in biology class, however. After completing the FRCC class, Josh left in the summer for a coding boot camp at Galvanize San Francisco. He returned to Colorado in the fall of 2016, and he and Lana connected a few months later on the dating app Bumble. They’ve been together ever since.

Different Paths Leading to FRCC

Lana and Josh both experienced bumps in the road early in their college careers. Although their circumstances were very different, they both found their way to FRCC.

After high school, Lana started at CU, but quickly found that the large university environment overwhelmed her. “It wasn’t for me, so I dropped out and moved back home but didn’t want to waste the semester by not going to school, so my mom suggested I check out Front Range Community College,” she says.

Lana enrolled late, but immediately felt at home. “I felt like I was learning a lot and getting the personal attention and extra help I needed at that stage in my life,” she says. “FRCC was a great place to transition from high school to college, and get better at things like studying and time management.”

Josh also started at CU right after graduating from high school, but a rare heart defect put him in and out of the hospital during his freshman and sophomore years. The constant health struggles made it difficult to succeed in school. He withdrew and started working full time, but always knew he would go back. “FRCC was perfect for me because I knew I wanted to return to CU eventually, but I saved a lot of money taking some of those general education courses at FRCC,” he says.

Transferring Together, Graduating Together

In fall 2018, Lana and Josh transferred to the CU, taking with them their credits from FRCC. Josh’s longtime interest in technology led him to declare a major in computer science, with a minor in sociology. Lana loves children and families and started working toward a degree in sociology and public health.

They both graduated from CU in May 2019. Josh now works at IHS Markit, a global information services company. He is on a team of developers that works with clients around the world. Lana worked as a nanny for a time, and has considered graduate school to study counseling or social work.

In 2020, Lana and Josh got engaged and hope to marry in 2021. In other exciting news, they’re expecting their first child together—a boy—due in April 2021.

A Memorable Experience

The couple gives a lot of credit to FRCC for bringing them together—and helping them achieve their goals. “I always think of our story beginning at FRCC,” says Josh. Now living in Westminster, Josh adds that both he and Lana are grateful for everything that they gained at CU and FRCC.

“At Front Range, I was able to figure things out a little easier,” Josh says. “Most of my professors had a really hands-on approach, which I liked. It felt personal and I had great relationships with instructors there. By the time I got back to CU, I felt ready.”

Lana agrees. “If you know you want to go to college but don’t know exactly what kind of degree you want, FRCC is the best place. You can try out completely different subjects just to see what interests you, but at an affordable cost. I felt like every FRCC instructor I had was really invested in the success of their students.”

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