In June of 2015 Jenn DeRosa was named Valedictorian at Skaneateles High School. Less than one year later she’ll earn a degree from OCC. When she leaves campus she’ll be on a different career path than she had planned.
“I came here set on being a pre-med student,” DeRosa said. “I wanted to major in biochemistry and do all of the prerequisites for medical school.” During her first semester DeRosa went to the College’s Career and Applied Learning Center and signed up to volunteer at a hospital. “I realized the atmosphere in a hospital wasn’t right for me. It made me rethink what I wanted to do.”
At the same time DeRosa was working on an Honors project with Chemistry Professor Doug Hagrman which focused on utilizing a High Performance Liquid Chromatography machine. Her fascination with chemistry blossomed into an internship with a research lab, Ichor Therapeutics on Route 11 in Lafayette. “The class and everything I was working on changed my future.”
DeRosa is now focused on a career in Chemical Engineering. She built the foundation for it at OCC where she’s a Mathematics and Science major with an Honors minor. Her outstanding classwork led to her induction into international honor society Phi Theta Kappa.
DeRosa is the second high-achieving member of her family to attend OCC. Her older sister Stephanie was Skaneateles High School’s Class of 2013 Salutatorian. Stephanie earned a perfect 4.0 grade point average in OCC’s Engineering Science major and is now at the University of California at Berkeley pursuing a degree in electrical engineering and computer science. Stephanie and Jenn’s father graduated from a community college and always told his daughters, “You get a great bang for your buck at a community college and you pay the least for it.”
As Jenn completes her second and final semester at OCC she’s grateful for the opportunities she found on campus. “All of the people here were so willing to lead you in the direction you wanted to go in. I came here with so many expectations and they were more than filled. I’m so excited I got to experience my life here first, otherwise I’m not sure where I would be.”