MCC Alumna Reflects on Her Journey from MCC to Cornell (07/29/2020)
'More than one path can be taken to achieve a college degree," says Elizabeth De Meyer '17.
After completing my bachelor’s degree this past December, I’ve reflected on my time as an undergraduate and fully realized how certain aspects have contributed to my successes. Although my financial circumstances were different five years ago, I heavily weighed tuition costs when considering my college choices.
With my goal of earning a bachelor’s degree in plant sciences, Cornell University was my top pick due to its excellent reputation for this field. However, due to its higher cost of tuition, directly entering as a freshman wasn’t a viable option. Given these factors, I pursued a less conventional route of attending a community college for two years then transferring to a four-year school, demonstrating that more than one path can be taken to achieve a college degree.
Right from my start at Monroe Community College, I prepared for transfer by taking relevant courses and utilizing the tools offered. Through participating in the smaller, more rigorous settings of honors courses and conducting and presenting research at MCC’s Scholars’ Day, I gained credit hours and skills that transferred to my four-year school. I also became a Phi Theta Kappa honor society chapter officer, working with a close-knit group of students and advisors and gaining leadership skills. I earned my associate degree in liberal arts and sciences and a certificate in advanced studies with thesis in 2017.
After transferring to Cornell, I had ample time to fit in my coursework while also participating in extracurricular activities and undergraduate research. The money I had saved during the previous two years relieved financial stress and provided me with time I might have otherwise spent working. At Cornell, I joined the rowing club and traveled to Nicaragua and Cuba for class trips over spring breaks. I completed an undergraduate research honors thesis and two summer internships. My writing and presentation skills, honed in my first two years of college, held up to the rigor needed in my advanced coursework and research. I graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in plant sciences.
My time as an undergraduate prepared me well for my next step. With my goal of becoming a lead researcher in my field, a Ph.D. would have to be in my future. Because I had gained enough undergraduate research experience, I was able to apply directly to Ph.D. programs without earning a master’s degree. By taking an alternate route to my four-year degree, I saved money while gaining the skills to succeed in my undergraduate career and beyond.
Elizabeth De Meyer of Hilton will pursue her Ph.D. in August 2020.
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