Way to Mt. Holyoke and
Academic Success for Alum Laura Christiansen
Laura Christiansen '08 (A.A., Liberal Arts), Mercer County
Community College provided the support she needed to excel
at a critical time in her life.
After experiencing a setback during her freshman year at a
four-year university, Christiansen decided to take a breather
from college life. She found her way back at MCCC, which was
affordable and conveniently located to her part-time restaurant
jobs in neighboring Hamilton Township.
Taking one course at a time for several semesters, within
a year at MCCC, Christiansen was once again taking a full
course load - and earning top grades. A Dean's List student,
she was among the first to enroll in Mercer's Honors Program,
established in 2007.
After receiving a major academic scholarship, Christiansen
transferred to Mount Holyoke College (MA) and graduated this
past May with a bachelor's degree in English and a minor in
Film Studies. She credits Mercer with laying the foundation
for her subsequent academic success. "The MCCC Honors
Program was incredible," she maintains, recalling exhilarating
classes in contemporary fiction, poetry, and sociology.
"The coursework challenged me in ways I had not been
before," Christiansen said. "It also gave me the
push I needed to develop meaningful relationships with my
professors." She notes that her interactions with fellow
students were equally fulfilling. "The camaraderie and
support I developed with my peers were what I needed most,
forcing me to work harder and achieve more. I enjoyed my total
Mt. Holyoke grad Laura Christiansen (MCCC '08)
at May commencement ceremony
list of Mercer honors included being named to the Phi Theta Kappa
Honor Society and the Kappa Delta Pi Education Honor Society. She
was the also recipient of the Student Leadership Award.
Mount Holyoke, she continued to sharpen her academic and leadership
skills and to broaden her world view. A gifted writer, she was awarded
Mount Holyoke's Marjorie Kaufman Prize in Literature this past spring.
"It was such an honor to receive this award from a place renowned
for educating women leaders, among them Pulitzer Prize-winning playwrights,"
said Christiansen, who aspires to become a college professor. "I've
always wanted to teach. I just did not know what level until I came
to MCCC. That is where I decided to become a college professor."
Presently applying to graduate schools, Christiansen envisions pursuing
a master's degree in film and master's and Ph.D. in English Literature.
She will soon begin tutoring students in writing at the MCCC Learning
Center on a part-time basis as a way of giving back to the institution
that gave her so much. "There is no way I would be where I
am now without having attended Mercer," she said.
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