Student Spotlight: Jessica Halder
Growing up, Jessica Halder was strongly influenced by her family.
When family members became sick with different illnesses, she became interested in advancements in the medical field.
“I grew hyper-aware of the technology and medicines being found at the time, and it made me determined to take part in that,” she said. “I want to pave the way for research in diseases such as Alzheimer’s and find a way to create medical technology that would not have seemed possible decades ago.”
After leaving high school, Halder was indecisive because she had a narrow focus on her prospective future but was unsure of which major would be the right fit. She chose College of DuPage because her older brother had attended and knew of its excellence.
“College of DuPage has allowed me to meet other students with different backgrounds, similar – as well as vastly different – goals for the future, and even established careers who made me realize how expansive fields in science and engineering truly are,” she said. “I’ve met professors who offered a flood of information in regards to transfer schools and what would benefit me the most. They answered questions I did not know I had about building a career and the right steps to take in order to obtain my goals.”
Helping her financially are a number of scholarships she received through the College of DuPage Foundation: the Naperville Rotary and Charities Scholarship, the Ruth Walbeck Memorial Scholarship, the Carol Stream Community College Scholarship, the Eileen Ward Textbook Scholarship, the Lillian Neale Campbell Scholarship, and the Paul W. and Katherine T. Hedburn Scholarship.
Halder’s educational goal is to transfer to a four-year university, preferably the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and complete a bachelor’s degree in agricultural and biological engineering. For a career, she would like to design technology in the medical field.
“Neuroscience, especially in cases such as Alzheimer’s research, motivated me to pursue a career that was in line with the medical field. I would like to have the chance to create technology that could attack such diseases,” she said. “Bioengineering is a very broad field, so there is large number of areas in which to specialize. Ultimately I want to design technology that can eliminate certain illnesses and allow people to live fuller lives.”
Halder encourages any prospective student who is indecisive about the future or hesitant about the costs of big universities to study at College of DuPage first.
“Keep an open mind about what your future will look like,” she said. “I’ve talked to countless people who changed their major at least once and ended up being much happier with their second, third or even sixth choice. I would also suggest that you be social with the people you meet in classes or extracurricular activities. The COD student population is so very diverse, and everyone has unique experiences and knowledge to offer. You may end up gaining insight that will help you in the future, or friends you will take with you to your future university or career.
“In high school, I did well in math and was very interested in neuroscience. Those are very different topics and I did not know how I could work with both for a career. Taking classes at COD influenced me to become more invested in math and engineering, which ultimately made me realize that bioengineering is a very good fit for me.”
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