Amherst resident 18-year-old Virginia Ford will receive her associate of the arts degree from Lorain County Community College alongside her high school diploma as part of the Early College High School program.
“By joining Early College High School, I was able to get ahead of the game in education and figure out my passions and how to make them into a possible career for me,” Ford said. “Now it’s nearing the end of my journey as a high school and college student and I cannot wait to see where life will take me after this.”
She plans to complete an internship at Cleveland Clinic in the cell biology department this summer. She then hopes to earn her associate degree in nursing at LCCC then attend The University of Akron through LCCC’s University Partnership. Later, she plans to eventually earn a master of nursing specializing in neonatal care and ultimately become a neonatal nurse practitioner.
“LCCC and the Early College High School program have helped me achieve goals that I could never thought I could ever have,” Ford said. “From working in a HIV research lab with Harry Kestler, and being able to present my work in New Orleans this June, to receiving an internship doing something I love, I was able to become an STNA and from that I learned that I love to help people in person and behind the scenes with research. Now I have the hard yet wonderful choice of trying to choose between the two.”
Her family and friends continue to be her biggest support group and motivators, she said.
“Harry Kestler helped me find a voice I could never dream to call my own. I was a tiny girl that no one really stopped and noticed,” Ford said. “I was shy and meek and too scared to venture out on my own. But he saw potential in me. He saw my passion growing for research.”
She also would like to acknowledge LCCC staff Kayla Zamborsky and Darla Balawender.