Congresswoman Norma Torres

Representing the 35th District of California
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Rep. Torres invites Chaffey College student to State of the Union address

January 19, 2015
In The News

When Rep. Norma Torres, D-Ontario, attends her first State of the Union tonight, she will be joined by a special guest, Chaffey College student Crystal Tettenhorst.

Only a couple of days after learning about her trip, Tettenhorst was up Monday morning before dawn to catch her flight to the nation’s capital. The invitation was a complete surprise for the 30-year-old who is majoring in biochemistry.

“I’m very excited, and I feel so honored to have been selected for this opportunity,” Tettenhorst said Sunday evening.

A native of Norfolk, Virginia, Tettenhorst joined the Navy after high school and was stationed on the aircraft carrier Enterprise, as a nuclear machinist. She spent most of her six years in the Navy on the carrier.

President Barack Obama has proposed making two years of community college free to qualified students. Tettenhorst said she is interested in learning more about the plan.

Tettenhorst admits it would have been very difficult to go college straight out of high school but serving in the Navy provided her with the financial assistance she needed.

About two years ago, Tettenhorst moved to Fontana from San Diego. She enrolled at Chaffey College after a friend recommended that she continue her education there. She plans to transfer to California State University, San Bernardino or the University of California, Riverside in the fall. Tettenhorst said she hopes to become a pharmacist or conduct pharmaceutical research.

Her interest in medicine comes from experience with family. Her grandfather had Alzheimer’s disease and grandmother had osteoporosis, she said.

“I would like to create medicine that could treat these problems,” she said.

Torres said she was honored to have Tettenhorst as her guest, adding that she gives hope to the countless veterans and Inland Empire residents that are trying to adapt to the economic challenges.

“On the heels of the president’s announcement to vastly expand access to community college, Crystal reminds us of the need to invest in training and higher education and of the transformative role community colleges play in the lives of so many,” said Torres in a statement.