Transfer students often have personal reasons for choosing a second college or university. Some get their first taste of higher education at community colleges and then want more, while others are looking for a better fit for their college experience. Whatever their reason, transfer students enrich the campus communities they join while simultaneously broadening their own horizons.
Caedy Young, Pacific University
Caedy credits much of her academic success to her mother and father’s lifelong support. “I really value my relationship with my parents and cannot tell them enough how appreciative I am of their love and encouragement,” she says.
Growing up in Portland, Oregon, the daughter of a Swedish/German mother and a Native American/Norwegian father, Caedy was an only child—“if you don’t count the two Yorkshire terriers.”
Caedy’s family faced significant challenges when she was young. Her mother, a schoolteacher, was diagnosed with breast cancer when Caedy was six, and her father “developed a large pericardial lipoma [a heart tumor]” when she was 14. Difficult as they were, these health crises caused them to grow closer as a family and helped shape Caedy as an individual.
During her sophomore year in high school, Caedy applied for early acceptance to college. So while she technically graduated from high school in 2009, she actually stopped attending high school in 2007 and began attending classes at Portland Community College (PCC) at age 16.
On her second day at PCC, Caedy went to her first psychology class. Later that night, she declared psychology her major.
A year later, when she was 17, she attended an open house at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon, with her father. “When I was at PCC, I never liked the idea of transferring to a large public school, even though I know Oregon has some great universities,” Caedy says. “But the minute I set foot on [the Pacific University] campus, I knew that this was where I wanted to be. I looked at my dad and said, ‘Okay, this is it.’”
She was relentless, she says, in calling her “wonderful transfer coordinator” about her admission status. “I finally got the phonecall—yes! I was thrilled and couldn’t wait to begin.”
Caedy graduated in 2012 but “stuck around for a while as a teaching assistant in the psychology department,” she says (in fact, her undergraduate thesis was a psychobiography of Alfred Hitchcock!). When she learned Pacific University was beginning a Ph.D. clinical psychology program at their Health Professions Campus in Hillsboro, Oregon, she applied and was accepted. She’s now in her second year of a five-year grad school program. Caedy’s not entirely sure yet what her future will hold, but she knows she wants to continue to work in a field related to medicine.
Warren Dow, Brown University
Growing up in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, Warren had plenty of folks to look up to, a chance to explore different ways of life, and a strong desire to succeed. His career path has not been a straight one, but the turns he took along the way have led him to interesting places and given him a lot of options.
Warren and his older brother Justin were brought up in what is called the “Northeast Kingdom”—the beautiful but rural northeastern corner of Vermont bordering Canada. That’s where his father’s family is from. His mother’s family lived in New York City. Visiting relatives gave Warren and his brother opportunities to experience an urban/suburban culture and lifestyle. “Really,” Warren recalls, “we had the best of both worlds.”
At St. Johnsbury Academy, Warren excelled in academics and also participated in a wide variety of extracurricular activities, including tennis, track, soccer, and math club. When he graduated in 2003, he received the Headmaster’s Prize. He describes the Academy as “an amazing institution, a true prep school.”
When he visited his brother during a pre-college summer program Justin was attending at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, Warren knew this was where he wanted to go to college. But his route there was not a direct one.
Warren initially attended Franklin and Marshall College (F&M) in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in part because of its top-ranked pre-med program. The year he spent there, he says, was definitely worthwhile. But Brown was still calling out to him.
“Not only is Brown one of the most respected schools in the country, they literally wrote the book on neuroscience, defining it as its own field of study,” Warren says. “I knew if I went there I’d have an opportunity to study under some of the brightest minds in the world in that field. Plus it has a beautiful, old campus in a great city.” So he decided to transfer.
Once there he majored in neuroscience, with a concentration in neuropharmacology and behavioral neuroscience. “There were a lot of different options available with M.D., Ph.D. and M.D./Ph.D. programs all focusing on something different,” he says. “I mostly thought about being a neurosurgeon or neurologist, but I knew my background could also be valuable in the private sector for pharmaceutical, bio-tech, and consulting firms.”
Brown also has a strong focus on entrepreneurship, so Warren was able to make use of his skills in that area. After graduating in 2007, he took a job in New York City working for a private consulting company. Recently, however, he opted to follow his entrepreneurial inclinations when he and his closest friend, Alex Camelio, formed Barcode Publicity, a digital marketing company.
Though he and Alex now travel all over the country presenting seminars for Barcode Publicity, Warren chose to leave New York City and return to the Northeast Kingdom where he was brought up. “It’s a completely different lifestyle,” he explains. “Sometimes I spend summer weekends at a rustic cabin that’s been in my Dad’s family for 75 years. After a long workweek, there’s nothing better than pulling into the driveway at camp knowing there’s no Internet, cell signal, or TV, and that I can disconnect from everything. We all need that from time to time!”
Warren says there are still important decisions ahead for him, including whether to continue in the private sector or to follow his original plan of going to med school. He is also looking forward to starting a family of his own some day.
Anna Johnson, St. Ambrose University
Anna moved to Bettendorf, Iowa, with her family when she was four. She has lived there ever since with her mother, father, brother, sister, and “a cute black pug named Moe.” Anna also has a one-year-old son, Jayden, who is the love of her life.
Growing up, Anna did a lot of babysitting and worked part time at a daycare center. “Teaching always interested me,” she says, “so I knew early on that I wanted to go to college and get a degree in Elementary Education.
“Since I wanted to stay local and keep my job at KinderCare, I decided to start my education at Scott Community College, which is located right in Bettendorf, about five minutes from my house,” she explains. “The college’s location made it really easy to go to and from school.” Anna also was drawn to the small size of the on-campus classes and the fact that she could take a number of classes online.
When Anna first went to college, her goal was to become a teacher. When she graduated from Scott Community College in 2010 with an associate degree in liberal arts, she knew she had to continue on. Many of her friends raved about St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa. Touring the campus with an advisor, Anna was amazed by the friendly faculty and students. What most convinced her to transfer to St. Ambrose, however, was the fact that all of her credits from community college would count toward her degree.
Anna gained a sense of professionalism at St. Ambrose, learning about various instructional methods as well as techniques in the St. Ambrose Teacher Education Program that have made her a stronger teacher today.
Her best memory of St. Ambrose is, ironically, one that was intimidating at the time. It was her first day at St. Ambrose, and she felt out of place, like an outsider. “It seemed as if students who had been there their entire college career had made bonds with fellow students who had also been there their entire college career,” she says. “I could tell who had transferred and who did not, who lived on campus and what people were friends, and so forth.”
But Anna happened to run into a classmate from Scott Community College who said “hi” and gave her a huge smile. After they talked, she felt welcome.
Anna plans to continue teaching in the Lourdes Catholic School where she works now as one of two kindergarten teachers, knowing each year she teaches, the better she will become in the classroom. In her spare time, she relishes every moment she spends with her son.