Posted July 15, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many changes in today’s society including adjustments for college students. What it hasn’t done, however, is deter students like Michael Gonet from achieving their dream of earning a bachelor’s degree.
“Though we face COVID-19 together and it slowed some classes, it has not stopped me. I thank God for my good health and the strength to power through when this journey seemed to tough,” Gonet said.
Gonet, 23, of Sheffield Township, said he appreciates the opportunity through Lorain County Community College’s University Partnership to earn a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) from The University of Toledo. He graduated in May with his bachelor’s degree.
“Compared to some of my fellow classmates, I had a relatively manageable path to my degree. The late nights and giving up multiple weekends to prepare and complete assignments was a given and not unexpected,” he said.
That’s because he was already used to working hard as he graduated in 2015 from the Lorain County Early College High School on the LCCC campus earning both his high school diploma and associate degree at the same time in just four years, so going right into a bachelor’s degree, while challenging, wasn’t overwhelming.
“This rigorous program prepared me for positions in both the computer science and electrical engineering fields,” Gonet said. “I am now capable of solving problems ranging from my hobbyist tinkering projects all the way to those found in the technology industry’s leading-edge products.”
One problem Michael and his brother Christopher solved was providing “ear savers” to office staff at the Cleveland Clinic. The ear savers protect mask wearers from daily irritation of the mask straps on the ears. Christopher is following in his brother’s footsteps – he is a 2019 ECHS graduate and he will be entering the Toledo CSE program this fall.
“I started 3D printing at home just before the pandemic hit the U.S., so I had supplies before prices jumped. My brother and I printed a few dozen of the ear-savers to send to our aunt, who works in the offices at the Cleveland Clinic so she could distribute them there,” Gonet said. “It seemed like most supplies were routed to the nurses and doctors – as they should have been¬ – but we wanted to make sure those workers were not forgotten.”
One problem he didn’t have to solve was learning the LCCC campus. This familiarity with LCCC helped him decide to stick close to home to earn his bachelor’s degree through the University Partnership. “When I finished at the Early College High School, I was not entirely sure what I wanted to do afterwards. The University Partnership gave me the opportunity to pursue my interests in an environment that I was already comfortable with and felt like home,” Gonet said.
While he may not have had some of the social experiences of being on a four-year college campus, Gonet said the support he received from both LCCC and Toledo staff and faculty was top-notch and was more important to his success.
“The people along the way have made the experience better than I ever thought it would be,” he said. “I want to thank my LCCC instructors and the University of Toledo instructors stationed at the University Partnership Ridge Campus for preparing me, pushing me, and testing me.”
He also noted the help his advisor Adrienne Aguilar gave him to get him through the program on track and on time. “This would have been much more challenging without the support of those around me,” Gonet said.
And, of course, the University Partnership provides a great value to everyone seeking to earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree. “I was able to take about half of my classes through LCCC at its tuition rate saving a lot of money. Additionally, moving and most housing expenses were eliminated too,” Gonet said.
Because of his grades Gonet was also eligible for the LCCC Trustee Scholarship and a partial CSE Scholarship through the LCCC Foundation. “And these scholarships combined with my parents saving to give me a chance at college means I will graduate without student loans following me as I move into my career,” he said.
For more information on the bachelor’s and master’s programs available through LCCC’s University Partnership program visit http://www.lorainccc.edu/up.