Community college classes for many are an opportunity to discover the world, literally. Victoria Bruce, a 1994 Santa Ana College alumna, attended night classes at age 23 with the goal of inviting change to her life.
“At the time, I was working as a bartender in a night club in Garden Grove and I was completely bored with my life,” said Victoria.
Victoria did not have a specific field to study. Writing was something that had her attention, but she was not very convinced about going into journalism. However, she did display a passion for science when taking in an earth science class at SAC.
The Orange County native blended science with her desire of writing into a mixture of opportunities. When Victoria transferred to UC Riverside, she volunteered to write for many of the university’s science publications. In 1997, her experience led to a job at NASA after obtaining her master’s degree in geology. She worked as a publicist covering their earth science program. Then she challenged herself to write a book.
No Apparent Danger, published in 2001, took Victoria a year to write.
“It is the true story of a volcanic disaster in Colombia,” explained Victoria. “It follows young geologists over a period of ten years as they try to understand their country’s volcanoes and work with the politicians who are ultimately responsible for saving people’s lives.”
No Apparent Danger greatly impressed the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). This international media giant made a documentary based on Victoria’s book, which was shown in both the United Kingdom and the United States.
Due to her in-depth capability of handling science knowledge, television production, and writing, she encountered another great opportunity: hosting the Discovery Channel’s documentary Pompeii: The Last Day.
The BBC producers invited Victoria to host the show taking place in Italy on the Pompeii and Vesuvius volcano disasters. The show, which reveals the volcanic eruption that buried an entire city in AD 79, premiered in spring 2005 and is now available on DVD through www.dicoverychannel.com.
After the release of her book, Victoria produced a documentary for HBO/Cinemax called “The Kidnapping of Ingrid Betancourt.” This show was a recipient of the duPont Columbia Broadcast Journalism Award, the Pulitzer Prize of broadcast journalism.
“It was an incredible honor, and we were chosen among 13 other much more seasoned journalists, including Peter Jennings,” expressed Victoria, who today lives in Maryland with her husband and daughter.
As community colleges continue to boast a world of opportunities to students, Victoria is one true testament to discovering the world successfully.