Student Spotlight: Karen Sanchez
Major: Associate in Science
Without College of DuPage, Karen (Woznicki) Sanchez isn’t sure whether she would have discovered her love of sustainable food production.
“I started by taking a few horticulture classes and found I was interested in food crops,” she said. “I finished an internship at the Community Education Farm on campus, which only made me sure of my decision to go into sustainable agriculture.”
Sanchez came to College of DuPage for ease of transfer upon graduation and its proximity to her home. She also was able to save money and secured several scholarships: the Naperville Rotary Charities Scholarship, the Hawthorn Garden Club Scholarship and the Naperville Community Gardeners Scholarship.
“Because of these generous donors, I have not had to pay out of pocket for my tuition or books. The money I saved helped my family financially and it will go toward my transfer institution,” she said.
Although she earned her Associate in Science degree, Sanchez stayed at COD to complete several transfer credits. She applied to both Michigan State University and Colorado State University and selected the latter because of its green initiative, horticulture and plant genetic program, and the better financial aid available to transfer students.
Sanchez earned her bachelor’s degree in Political Science, with concentrations in environmental politics and policy concentration, as well as a minor in Applied Environmental Policy Analysis. She currently is pursuing a master’s degree in Political Science, with concentrations in public administration and policy and environmental politics, while working as a graduate teaching assistant. She also interned in the Colorado State Senate and with the City of Fort Collins.
Had she not attended College of DuPage, Sanchez may not have pursued her current career path. And she advises other students to explore subjects that might interest them.
“I found a major I never would have guessed I would like, so take classes at COD that you think are interesting and keep an open mind,” she said. “With the many different degree programs and certificates, there are many topics to explore even if you know what you want to do. The internship I was able to complete gave me the experience of growing organic produce for the community and educating people about the importance of sustainable production.
“Knowing that many of the classes I have been able to take at College of DuPage will most likely transfer to other schools allowed me to get a quality education at great price. On a personal level, I have gained experience in teaching others and being confident as a leader.”
College of DuPage
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