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MCCC Paves Way to Mt. Holyoke and
Academic Success for Alum Laura Christiansen


For 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 Mercer experience."

Happy Mt. Holyoke grad Laura Christiansen (MCCC '08)
at May commencement ceremony

Christiansen's 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.

At 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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