Student Spotlight: Karen Woznicki
Major: Associate in Science
Without College of DuPage, Karen Woznicki isn’t sure if 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.”
Woznicki 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 and the Hawthorn Garden Club Scholarship in fall 2013, and the Naperville Community Gardeners Scholarship in spring 2014.
“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, Woznicki 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.
She is studying natural resource management and horticulture with minors in global environmental sustainability, organic agriculture and environmental affairs (focusing on environmental policy). During the summer she took a class and volunteered with CSU’s community supported agriculture (CSA) program and learned more about the process she was exposed to when working with the Community Education Farm at COD.
“I have many options for a career. My goal is to grow food crops organically and sustainably for local community members while educating them about the process of organic production,” she said. “I have been looking into local CSA programs, school gardens and small organic farms. I am also looking into working in the genetics field and would like to end up working in a lab.”
It’s a career path she never would have pursued had she not attended College of DuPage. And Woznicki 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.”
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