Your Journey Begins Here Student Bio - Garrett College
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"Garrett College established successful roots for my future"

Cherra Mathis's Bio

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Class of 2012


Teacher Education, Secondary Education


Child Advocate Social Worker

Cherra's Journey

A day in the working life of Cherra Mathis involves collaborating with a team of attorneys in child welfare law and providing assistance and social service advocacy for abused and neglected children testifying in Philadelphia criminal and dependency court.

A native of St. Leonards, East Sussex, UK, Cherra is a child advocate social worker for the Support Center for Child Advocates in Philadelphia, Pa.

In 2012, she received her associate degree in teacher education/secondary education from Garrett College, which served as a stepping stone in preparing her to further her education at Bucknell University.

Like so many other students before her, Cherra did not believe she could qualify for the Bucknell Community College Scholars Program.

"The support and confidence of my GC professors pushed me to apply to the summer program. As soon as I was at Bucknell University, I saw how right they had been,” she stated. "It felt magical to be in a place like that, with its old buildings, huge soaring library, animal behavior lab for research, and faculty introducing me to completely new perspectives. It felt like a whole different world, and it was the only place I could imagine continuing my education after Garrett.”

During the summer program, Bucknell University hosts a handful of selected students from six community colleges in Maryland and Pennsylvania, of which Garrett College is a partner institution.

The summer program is known to be exceptionally rigorous, pushing each student to personal development enrichment on a variety of levels.

"Even if the scholar is taking more than the average number of classes at a community college, they may find they are not prepared for the level and quantity of academics that inundates them during the program,” said Mathis.

With that being said, Cherra credits the experience gained in the summer program into the scholar she is today.

"Transferring to Bucknell both affirmed my worth as a student and gave me some sense of who I could be as a person, and how I could wield my education to actually impact change.

Bucknell took the spark of aspirations kindled at Garrett College and gave me the tools to fan them myself, and follow them through to obtaining my master's degree in social work at the University of Pennsylvania.”

Cherra credits the wonderful people at both institutions in fueling her dreams, both as a student and an optimist.

"I cannot say enough good things about the faculty and staff at Garrett College, and how they bend over backward to facilitate their students' success,” stated Mathis.

According to Mathis, the Bucknell Community College Scholars program changed the entire trajectory of her life in ways that she would never have conceived possible.

"Transferring to Bucknell and experiencing two years of growth and change put me in a place where I could apply to a graduate program at an Ivy League university, be confident that I was a good candidate, and actively engage in changing my own life as well as the lives of those around me.”

She continued by saying, "in retrospect, it was such a simple step, to apply for the program, but that one choice has given me so many options I couldn't have imagined. Looking back, applying for BCCSP was perhaps the most significant step to get me where I am today.”

"I feel like I'm starting to come full circle. As a young adult, I needed the structure, support and safety of Garrett College and its staff to guide me to my Bucknell adventure,” explained Cherra. "In my role now advocating for disenfranchised youth and children, I am able to push for environments of support and understanding for my clients, just like Garrett College was for me.”