Malissa Strong's career goal to be a veterinarian means lots of years in school, so she focused her energies to graduate from high school in May 2011 and then from HCTC in August with an associate in science degree, giving her a two-year head start towards her bachelor's degree.
"My family has always been education driven. So in my sophomore year, I worked with an advisor to create an academic plan to obtain an associate's degree while I was in high school to help shorten the time after high school that I would spend in college."
Malissa said it was challenging to handle classes at both schools. "I just had to make time for both college and my Hazard High School classes. This is something that I wanted to do so I made sure I devoted time to my class work." She had a combination of online and in-person classes and she enjoyed the HCTC professors. "They assisted me through the problems I faced in their course. I even had some professors that I never saw personally in my online classes try to help me better understand the content."
HCTC President Dr. Steve Greiner said he expects even more high school students to take advantage of the chance to start early on their college education. While he said not every student would be attracted to the opportunity, the reduction in tuition cost is very attractive because it is lower than universities. At the same time, students receive a quality education that helps them achieve their future goals.
"I would recommend HCTC to others. It is a great place to get your academic start and it is the best deal financially." She plans to enroll in some additional HCTC courses and transfer them to Northern Kentucky University, where she is now enrolled, pursuing a Bachelor's of Science degree in Biological Sciences.
Malissa is the daughter of Ella Strong and Johnny Strong of Hazard.
Others interested in pursuing a degree? Call 487-3102.