When Halle Branscum enrolled at Lorain County Community College, her goal was simple: to get in, get out and get a job. And while getting a great job is still a priority, she’s also found herself immersed in campus life as a researcher, a student club officer and teaching assistant.

Halle Branscum

Branscum, 20, will earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Cleveland State University through LCCC’s University Partnership. She will graduate from CSU on May 12 and then begin a master’s program in psychology at CSU in the fall.

The Amherst woman said she came to LCCC as a shy student who was unsure of herself. She knew about LCCC through her College Credit Plus courses she took during her senior year of high school and decided to continue her education at LCCC to study psychology. On her first day of class, she met professor Michelle Foust, Ph.D., in the Introduction to Psychology course.

“That was the course that changed everything for me,” Branscum said.

With Foust’s encouragement, Branscum joined the psychology honor society Psi Beta, where she is now the vice president. As part of the club, she has participated in two research projects – including a recent project on how stigma affects community college students seeking help for mental illness, which she completed with two other Psi Beta members. They will present their research at the Ohio Undergraduate Conference in Columbus and a National Conference in San Francisco this spring.

It was also Foust who recommended that Branscum explore her bachelor’s degree options available through LCCC’s University Partnership. By earning a bachelor’s degree through the UP, Branscum was able to save on tuition and room and board charges.

“I chose the UP because it was affordable, 20 minutes from my house, and it allowed me to continue doing research with LCCC faculty,” Branscum said.

Once she began courses toward her bachelor’s degree, Branscum became a teaching assistant for LCCC professor James Jordan, MA. Putting her knowledge to the test on the other side of the classroom helped her reaffirm her passion for psychology, she said.

All of her experiences at LCCC have helped shape her into the confident woman she is today, she said. As she looks back on her time at LCCC and the University Partnership, Branscum said she is confident she made the right choice in her education and looks forward to the future.

“I started out as a very shy, scared student but from the help of caring professors, I have grown into so much more,” she said. “I have learned to set the bar high on my goals and dreams, and that not much isn’t obtainable if I put my mind and effort toward it.”