Student Spotlight: Chris Dearnley
Although Chris Dearnley attended high school in Australia, his birthplace, his education did not transfer to the U.S.
“This meant I had to get my GED,” he said. “So College of DuPage was not only a smart way to earn college credits for a more affordable cost but was also something I could do to get my GED.”
COD was also a flexible option, which was something Dearnley needed after he and his girlfriend nearly died in a severe car accident. Until he fully recovered and could attend classes in person, Dearnley enrolled in online courses.
“After receiving severe brain damage, I think I'm a good example of how hard work pays off no matter how difficult your situation might be,” he said. “One can always overcome obstacles and achieve greatness.”
While at COD, he received the Carter Carroll Excellence in History award for outstanding work in the field of history writing. This award was created by Carter D. Carroll, one of the original faculty members of COD who taught History for more than two decades.
Dearnley was surprised he won with his paper on Mao Zedong.
“The paper was not what many would expect to be reading about Mao, as people believe he was this mass-murdering dictator, when through intensive research I gave facts about how Mao was beneficial to China despite what Modern China wants its citizens to believe or Western historians want to believe,” he said. “My professor, Birgit Noodt, who I can give a lot of credit, said she wasn’t surprised I won.”
Dearnley, who was a member of Phi Theta Kappa, earned his Associate in Arts degree and transferred to DePaul University. He was part of the Tau Sigma honor society, which offers scholarships for transfer students; joined the national honors fraternity Phi Sigma Pi; interned with Anheuser-Busch, working on marketing and promotion within Chicago; and was an assistant coach for the DePaul rugby clubs. He also was the head director for the first-ever Chicago rugby tournament, the 2016 Heartland Chicago Cup, which hosted eight teams and attracted more than 300 people.
Having graduated magna cum laude from DePaul, Dearnley is fielding job offers and hopes for a dream job in green industry and renewable energy.
“I believe green energy is the future of this nation,” he said. “Solar power and wind power provide better, more reliable energy for the future. I see no possible way of continuing on the road of using oil which only causes war and will quickly run out.
“College of DuPage helped me earn my associate’s degree in Business, which is the first step in going into the career I desire. Despite what some might say about teachers at a community college, I met a lot of excellent teachers and I am very grateful to the staff at COD. College of DuPage was honestly an incredible and intelligent choice that really gave everything I needed to launch into further education and success.”
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2016 College of DuPage