Guild Student Shines Light on Positivity from the Mountain State


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Friday, March 22, 2024
image of Marcus Romer with text: Meet Guild Student Marcus Romer

By Mira Radovich, Senior Contributing Writer

In need of some words of encouragement or a daily chuckle? Check out RioConnect, Rio Salado College’s virtual chat room.

It’s where Rio students can go to chat with other online students, share ideas and get advice. It’s also where you will find a daily post by Marcus Romer.

Romer logs on each morning to greet fellow students by sharing a funny meme or words of encouragement.

Judging by the thousands of views his posts get, others appreciate the positive sentiments. 

But Romer mostly posts because he wants people to feel good.

“I like to send out good memes to the Rio community through the RioConnect app,” Romer said. “I get to make the students feel a lot better by posting a positive message every day.”

One avid reader of Romer’s posts is his Rio Salado academic advisor Carmen Lira.

“I see Marcus’s posts every day and they always make me smile,” Lira said. “I think having a positive message from a student when you open your email in the morning is a great way to start your day.”

Romer is originally from Maryland, but now lives in West Virginia. He has worked at a Walmart store in Keyer, West Virginia, since 2016. That is where he began pursuing higher education.

Walmart is one of many companies that partner with Guild, a career opportunity platform providing workforce and career development to Fortune 100 and 500 employers nationwide.

Guild works with several providers to offer the employees of the partner companies a marketplace of educational programming. The employer partners pay part or all of the tuition for employees to earn college certificates, degrees or other certifications.

Rio Salado College initiated a partnership with Guild in 2022 to become one of its learning marketplace providers. Through the partnership, eligible Guild students have access to 11 associate degree programs and 22 certificate programs through Rio Salado.

That is how Romer became one of the hundreds of Guild students to take classes at Rio Salado in 2023.

Romer is currently in his third semester at Rio and is pursuing an associate degree in retail management.

“I have my front-line manager certificate from Denver University,” Romer said. “I am taking online classes through Rio Salado. I began in May 2023. I am working toward a bachelor’s degree in retail management.”

He anticipates completing his program in 2028 and is already making plans to attend commencement.

“When I get done with my retail management degree, I’m planning to fly out to Arizona,” Romer said. “I’ve already asked my brother-in-law to fly out with me to be there in person when I get my degree.”

Romer is proud to share his accomplishments with his family.

“I’ll be the second person in my family to graduate,” he said. “My sister has graduated twice, once for respiratory therapy and once for cutting hair.”

For now, Romer is taking classes at his pace and looking forward to how having a degree will affect his future.

“Someday I want to become a store manager for Walmart in the near future,” Romer said. “I am working toward my goals. I also want to say thank you to Walmart and Rio Salado College for giving me this opportunity.”

Romer, true to his thoughtful and selfless nature, also appreciates everyone who is supporting him on this journey.

“I have a lot of support from my caretakers and the Facebook community,” Romer said. “I also want to thank my church family, and my community in Mineral County.”

Lira is quick to point out that Romer’s own determination is key to his success as well.

“Marcus is a great example of starting from the beginning and taking small steps to achieve your academic and career goals,” Lira said. “Although he has had health issues throughout his life, this has only made him stronger and more motivated to continue to better himself in all aspects of his life.”