June 29th, 2021
Jones reflects on first year at Bucknell University
May 2020 graduate carves her place at prominent, private institution
Garrett College alumnae, Tierra Jones has recently completed her first year at Bucknell University by virtue of the Bucknell Community College Scholars Program, a prestigious transfer scholarship opportunity available to high-achieving Garrett College students.
"My junior year was everything and nothing I imagined," remarked Jones. "I attended remotely for the full year, and the community that I was able to cultivate was amazing."
A May 2020 liberal arts graduate of GC and resident of Waldorf, Md., Jones is presently studying English at Bucknell University in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree, with future aims to gain a career in public relations, publishing, or writing.
Following a six-year gap from her first attempt at college, Jones attended Garrett College beginning in the fall 2018 semester, earning her associate of arts degree in May 2020. During her college restart, she excelled academically.
Jones also actively participated in many activities and organizations on campus, including: president of Student Government Association (SGA), vice president of GC’s Alpha Omicron Phi Chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society (PTK), peer tutor in the tutoring center, and student ambassador with the Admissions department, all of which added to her campus experience.
"Garrett College provided a solid foundation of building blocks upon which each semester has stacked and added great value to my education/life experiences. Each semester I can apply something from the previous semester, and I will always be grateful to GC for my foundation, after entering a classroom post a six-year hiatus," reflected Jones. "I was well-prepared to take on Bucknell University because of Garrett College."
After learning about the Bucknell Community College Scholars Program during her first semester at Garrett, Jones sought out Ashley Ruby, director of advising & academic success at the college. Ruby coordinates the Bucknell Community College Scholars Program and explains that the program is designed for a dedicated student such as Jones.
"This is a highly competitive program in which Garrett College is one of six community college partners," Ruby stated. "Eligible candidates must be willing to push themselves academically, mentally, and physically, at times. Tierra demonstrated that she had the makings of an admirable Bucknell scholar through her countless achievements at Garrett."
Jones participated in the rigorous Bucknell Community College Scholars Program in the summer of 2019, where she lived on campus and enrolled in two Bucknell courses for six weeks over the course of the summer.
Approaching completion of her associate of arts degree, she was awarded the extremely competitive two-year transfer scholarship valued at more than $100,000 to attend Bucknell University.
"By attending Garrett College first, and working closely with Ashley Ruby through advising, I experienced a smooth transition to Bucknell," commented Jones. "I was able to immediately meet the university’s writing requirements and take courses that I am both interested in and directly work in my creative writing degree. I will be finishing my degree requirements with some room to explore other interest areas in my last semester of senior year."
COVID-19 upended the lives of college students nationwide; however, Jones persisted in her academic endeavours, completing her first official semester with a 4.0 GPA.
"COVID-19 challenged me to excel despite the many challenges. I had to rely strictly on my own grit and determination to complete three semesters of college during a pandemic," she added. "I’ve learned and am able to cherish the value of community in education so much more due to COVID-19."
Bucknell delivers a robust structure of support for the Bucknell Community College Scholars Program students, all of which continued during remote learning.
"During my first semester, weekly virtual meetings with my fellow BCCSP cohort really helped me to feel connected to campus and get reacquainted with the cohort and university," Jones noted.
She also actively sought support and guidance from the writing center and The Stadler Center for Poetry and Literary Arts. These resources allowed her to connect with faculty, staff, and students to gain a larger perspective that could be applied to her own working projects.
To further integrate herself into the writing community, Jones engaged in open mic nights and a writers in conversation series through the literary department and Stadler Center, actively participated in the creative writing club, and served as an editor with the student-run literary magazine, confetti Head.
Each activity helped to further foster a sense of community and connection with her peers, even in the virtual environment. Jones pronounced, "I truly feel welcomed into the Bucknell University writer’s community."
This fall, Jones will complete an internship with West Brance magazine. Additionally, she has been hired as a peer writing consultant in the Bucknell writing center on campus.
"Trust the process, stick it out! Your goals are worth the effort," advised Jones.
"Tierra exemplifies what this program is all about - she has had to overcome significant obstacles and is currently paving her own way to a future that is full of bright possibilities," remarked Ruby. "She is passionate, talented, and studious. I look forward to staying connected with her as her future unfolds."
The Bucknell Community College Scholars program is designed for high-achieving, low- to moderate income community college students who aim to earn their associate’s degree and wish to take their education further. After meeting the academic and financial criteria, potential scholars must apply and attend the summer program immediately prior to community college graduation. Students then return to the community college to complete the associate degree, and are eligible to apply for the Two-Year Transfer Scholarship to Bucknell University.
For more information about the Bucknell Community College Scholars Program, in addition to other transfer opportunities available at Garrett College, persons may contact Ruby at Garrett College at 301-387-3733 or firstname.lastname@example.org.