There wasn’t a single moment in her life that made Michelle Moore decide to give college another try. Instead, she calls the decision a slow burn. In 2011 Moore was among 42 students to graduate from a high school in western Ohio. The following fall she attended a large university in Michigan and the transition didn’t go well.
“It was such a big change, and I didn’t feel like I was very connected to the college,” Moore said. “That and then also financial reasons.”
Moore dropped out, moved to Elyria and started working at a local jewelry store. Her mom worked there too, and Moore enjoyed it. She liked getting a glimpse into her customers’ lives and was earning a decent living. Moore worked there for nearly a decade, all the while knowing she would never feel settled in a retail career.
“I kept hearing this voice in the back of my head telling me, ‘What are you doing? You’re not meant for this,’” Moore said. “I always said I’d go back to college one day, but as the years go by though, you feel like you’re very out of that world.”
Moore said she became fed up with that little voice and a Lorain County Community College alumnus — Moore’s husband — helped pull her back into the college world. And Moore, who’s now earning her Bachelor of Arts in psychology through LCCC’s University Partnership, has thrived ever since.
“My experience at LCCC has been nothing but great,” Moore said. “The difference is obviously a smaller school, and way more affordable.”
On average, University Partnership students save 70% of the four-year university’s tuition. Moore said the financial break allowed her to focus not only on her studies, but on activities outside the classroom. Like serving as president of a club she, at first, said she’d never join. Moore recalls LCCC psychology professor, Jim Jordan, being relentless in his promotion of Psi Beta, a national honor society for students enrolled in two-year colleges who plan to major in psychology. But Moore didn’t consider herself a club joiner.
“I just thought, I’m going to get my degree and I’m going to get out of here,” Moore said. “But professor Jordan kept telling me it would help my career later because I’d get research experience and be able to give back to the community.”
Moore eventually caved, joining Psi Beta, and said the opportunities seemed endless. The chapter launched community-focused programs like “Journey to the Brain and Beyond,” where members taught children about the brain through games and activities. They donated their time at the Second Harvest Food Bank and LCCC’s Commodore Cupboard. And they co-hosted a blanket drive to donate to the Blessing House, a local crisis center that provides housing and resources for children in need.
“At Psi Beta we like to focus on giving back to the community because the community has always supported LCCC,” said Jordan. “The only problem our members are experiencing with giving back to the community is that they want to do much, which is a good problem to have.
For the sixth consecutive year the LCCC chapter received the Chapter Excellence Award, given to chapters across the country that meet or exceed the standards of excellence within each component of Psi Beta’s mission – community service, leadership, scholarship and research.
Moore herself was a standout on the research side of Psi Beta, being one of just six in the nation to win the Macmillan Learning Emerging Researcher Award. She gained much of the research experience that helped her win by participating in the Psi Beta National Research Project on College Connectedness. Moore served as a research lead on the team and, along with the rest of the chapter, presented to the American Psychological Association.
“That’s unbelievable,” Moore said. “To have those opportunities and to go to such a big conference to present. It was amazing.”
Moore said Jordan was right when he called Psi Beta a career builder. She’s now applying to graduate schools, with hopes of getting into either Cleveland State University’s Adult Development and Aging Ph.D. program, one that typically requires a Master’s degree as a prerequisite. It’s a bold move but Moore thinks she has a chance, thanks in part to her role in Psi Beta.
“When Michelle was recognized as an emerging researcher, she distinguished herself among thousands of two-year college students across the country,” Jordan said. “Obtaining advanced degrees in psychology demands exceptional research skills and Michelle has already demonstrated the ability to conduct research at a graduate level.”
Moore, who expects to graduate in December 2022, is now serving as president of LCCC’s chapter for current academic year. And as she continues to bolster her resume and her confidence, she is thankful to that once nagging voice that eventually led her to LCCC.
“Coming to LCCC was the best decision I’ve ever made in my college career, hands down,” she said.