April is National Community College Month and some of Lorain County Community College’s current students and recent graduates are great examples of how far you can go with a community college education.
“Our students and take advantage of all that LCCC has to offer,” said LCCC President Marcia J. Ballinger, Ph.D. “and our graduates achieve great things on a regular basis.”
Two Students Win Top Awards in All-USA Community College Rankings
Two Lorain County Community College students were recently named among the top community college students in the country in the All-USA Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team competition. They will each receive a scholarship and attend a national conference.
Daniel Truitt, 21, of Vermilion, received the highest score of all community college students in Ohio and was named a 2017 New Century Scholar, one of only 50 students in the country to win the award.
Truitt is on the path to becoming a family physician. He earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Bowling Green State University in December 2016 through LCCC’s University Partnership. He continues to take classes at LCCC in preparation to begin medical school in the fall. He carries a 4.0 grade point average in all his coursework. He was also named to the All-Ohio First Academic Team.
Truitt earned 17 college credits while in high school through LCCC’s College Credit Plus program at Firelands High School. It was the experiences he has in his LCCC courses during high school that led him to select LCCC and the University Partnership for his undergraduate degrees.
“Those courses sparked something in me that I didn’t know was there. When I found out that I could continue with LCCC and earn a bachelor’s degree in biology through LCCC’s Partnership, it was like all the pieces came together,” Truitt said.
He is active on campus with an undergraduate research group that studies toxic algae blooms in Lake Erie. He is a member of the LCCC Chapter of the American Society of Microbiology and served a semester as president of the LCCC Pre-Medical Club. He also volunteered at Mercy Regional Medical Center. He works as an LCCC tutor in chemistry, biology, and anatomy and physiology.
“All of this has been possible because I chose LCCC,” Truitt said. “There have been times when people ask me why I would come to a community college when I could have gone elsewhere, and I tell them about all the experiences that I’ve had that I wouldn’t have gotten at a large university.”
Brandon Holcomb, 18, of Lorain, was named a 2017 Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team Silver Scholar. He was also named to the All-Ohio First Academic Team.
Holcomb is a senior in Lorain County Early College High School, where he combines his love of music with his interest in scientific research. He will graduate in May with an Associate of Arts degree from LCCC. In June, he will earn his high school diploma.
Holcomb conducts genetic research as part of the LCCC Early Scientist HIV Research group with professor Harry Kestler, Ph.D. Through the group, Holcomb conducts high-level research – something he learned he enjoys.
“I joined the Early Scientists in the summer of my freshman year and discovered my passion for microbiology, particularly regarding the studies of virology, immunology and genetics,” Holcomb said.
He is also a member of the LCCC Chapter of the American Society of Microbiology and has presented his research findings at several conferences. He received the Honorable Mention award at the 59th Annual May Conference at John Carroll University. He is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society.
Holcomb shares his love of music with his fellow students through Rock Lab, an after-school music program where he is an assistant instructor. He is active in the community with the Lorain County AIDS Taskforce and volunteering at local events, such as the Harvest Festival at LCCC.
Holcomb plans to continue his education to eventually earn a Ph.D. in microbiology. He aspires to have a career in clinical research.
LCCC Students Participate in Ohio Branch of the American Society for Microbiology
LCCC was well represented at the Ohio Branch of the American Society for Microbiology the first weekend in April at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio. Twenty-two students from Harry Kestler’s and Kathy Durham’s microbiology courses made five presentations during the one-day research event.
“LCCC had five presentations at this meeting and three of them were delivered by high school students,” said Kestler. “No other school in the state made more presentations than LCCC and we are the only institution that sends high school students to this meeting.”
Last year at the officers meeting a proposal was made to include an award for high school students, Kestler said. The committee voted on the proposal and the first award for pre-college research was awarded to Eddie Jackson, an LCCC Early College High School student from Elyria. In the award, it was noted that Jackson had attended every single meeting since he joined ASM.
Jackson’s hard work has paid off as he has been awarded a full scholarship to Rice University in Houston, Texas, where he will begin in the fall.
The American Society for Microbiology is an organization that sponsors almost every aspect of microbiology like medical microbiology, clinical microbiology, veterinary microbiology and environmental microbiology. “Each state has its own chapter and LCCC is a member of the Ohio branch ASM. Lorain County Community College has the only community college student chapter in the nation and is the only chapter where high school students are members,” Kestler added.
In the first week of June, LCCC will be sending a group of microbiology students to the national American Society for Microbiology meeting in New Orleans. The group is composed of all Early College High School students, including Leéna Boone the first freshman to be invited to a national meeting, Kestler noted. Other students going to New Orleans include ECHS sophomore Riley Figueroa, ECHS senior Virginia Ford and ECHS sophomores Lauryn McMillan and Jennifer Ortega.
100 Percent of LCCC Grads in Two Fields Pass National Exams
This year, 100 percent of LCCC graduates who took the Clinical Lab Science and Phlebotomy Certification exams passed.
Overall, LCCC clinical laboratory science graduates performed excellent on the 2016 national ASCP Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT) exam. While graduates had a 100 percent pass rate, the national pass rate was 83 percent. LCCC’s program mean score on the exam was 579, that’s 11 percent higher than the national mean of 522. In addition, LCCC’s program mean was significantly higher than the national mean in all exam content areas.
Performance results of the 2016 graduates on the Phlebotomy Technician (PBT) exam were also stellar. The graduates had a 100 percent pass rate where the national pass rate was 87 percent. LCCC’s program mean score on the exam was 583, or 9 percent higher than the national mean of 535.