Somers resident Cortland Carbone has her eyes on the prize, and she is not letting anything get in her way. A January 2022 graduate of CREC Academy of Aerospace and Engineering in Windsor, Carbone began taking courses through Asnuntuck Community College’s High School Partnership Program during her junior year of high school. “Taking college courses during high school was incredibly appealing to me,” said Cortland. “Asnuntuck’s High School Partnership Program made college more financially accessible, as the program covered one free course per Fall and Spring term.” The ambitious student paid out of pocket for additional courses she enrolled in for spring and fall. She even took classes during the accelerated winter session and summer semester, which involved her paying for those courses as well.
Cortland explained, “My initial focus was to complete the core requirements of Asnuntuck’s program and the initial courses in my chosen field of study, Psychology.” She continued, “Completing Asnuntuck’s core requirements first allowed me to access higher-level courses with prerequisite requirements. Asnuntuck has very helpful pathway literature to assist with course selection for each chosen field. This includes the core requirements. This process instilled confidence in my academic abilities and provided a wonderful introduction to the college experience.”
An amazing accomplishment for any student, but even more impressive for Cortland who was highly engaged at her high school in extracurricular activities and Asnuntuck clubs and organizations, she maintained a 4.0-grade point average. “At my high school, I was part of the National Honor Society, was a trained peer mediator, and tutored middle school students. I was also on the executive board of the Student Government as Secretary.” She was also drawn to leadership opportunities through Asnuntuck as well. “My initial leadership exposure was through the Asnuntuck Community College Women’s Leadership Institute’s “Launch Your Leadership Journey” headed by the Director of Student Activities, Sherry Paquette. This program ran every Saturday morning for my first Fall Semester.” She added, “At Asnuntuck, I became a member of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, President and Founding member of Girl Up United Nations Association, Vice President of Campus Activities Board, and Sergeant of Arms of the Student Government Association.” Her academic achievements at the college were also recognized by an international honor society. “I have been inducted into Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honors Society at Asnuntuck in February of 2021.”
One of her advisors for PTK Dr. Heather D’Orlando, was also one of her instructors at the college. Dr. D’Orlando commented, “Rarely have I encountered a student as capable and motivated as Cortland, but what set her apart was her willingness to engage in our learning community.” She explained, “She infused her compassion and optimism into each course, each student activity, that she participated in. We are all fortunate that as a future psychologist, Cortland will apply such skills to the service of children and families.”
Carbone shared what her experience as a high school student, also enrolled at the college was like. “Asnuntuck offers many opportunities to become involved in the campus community. I found out about many of these activities through the Eagle Press that is emailed to ACC students weekly. I found the campus community tremendously warm and welcoming. I encourage students to get involved in campus activities.” She continued, “Joining is more than just a resume-building opportunity! ACC staff is genuinely interested in supporting their students not just academically but socially as well. I felt more connected to the school community and made lasting friendships. I gained a great deal of leadership experience and had a lot of fun along the way!”
Cortland did not let some unavoidable bumps in the road stop her from moving forward on her pathway. “Since an infant, I’ve addressed health issues related to congenital heart defects. As a result, I was in the high-risk category for contracting COVID-19. During my time at Asnuntuck, I experienced complications that required hospitalization and ultimately two separate surgeries. Prior to surgery, I was experiencing a very high level of fatigue, dizziness, arrhythmias, and other related symptoms. After in-hospital testing, my cardiologist was able to diagnose the reasons for the symptoms, and surgery was required. In my desire to complete my program on time, I did my best to work around my symptoms to maintain my program of study.”
She explained, “I have always been an active learner. Since COVID-19 required online learning in high school, it provided a wonderful opportunity to accelerate my program into college. Since I wish to pursue graduate study in the future, I knew that a high GPA would be required. The support provided to students at Asnuntuck and regular communication with professors contributed to my positive experience and GPA. My professors were very approachable, responsive, and supportive. I found the program of study relevant and meaningful.”
Cortland chose the CSCU Pathway Transfer Degree: Psychology Studies A.A. and will be receiving an A.A. in Liberal Arts with a concentration in Psychology this May.
She received additional support from the campus. “The ACC admissions department and several faculty members were very helpful in providing the information needed to connect my high school to Asnuntuck.”
She continues to plan for her future. “I will transfer to a four-year in-person institution in the Fall of 2022. I have been accepted to all the colleges that I’ve applied to and am currently evaluating the packages offered to me. Although I have been accepted to all the colleges, there are other factors that weigh on the decision of which college I will ultimately attend.” She continued, “For example, although a college accepts you, they sometimes do not accept the majority of your credits. It’s important to me that my hard work be considered in my college decision-making process.”
Her advice for high school students is valuable. “For others considering the High School Partnership program or transfer pathways to a four-year college, I would encourage them to read the articulation agreements with Asnuntuck. Some of these colleges provide guarantees related to the acceptance of your Asnuntuck credits. The articulation agreements are available online and should be reviewed before pursuing this path. The pathways include state and private colleges throughout CT. The articulation agreements significantly decrease stress when it’s time to transfer!”
She is already looking ahead to what she wants to achieve after earning her bachelor’s degree. “At this point, I would like to achieve a doctorate degree in Psychology specializing in young children. I have been fortunate to work as an Assistant Teacher at the Stowe Early Learning Center with the help of Asnuntuck’s Department Chair of Early Childhood Education Carol LaLiberte, who has been extraordinarily supportive of me. This program, along with previous experiences with special-needs children, has reinforced my desire to pursue this career path in Child Psychology.”
She said, “I am grateful for the opportunities that were provided by ACC and feel very prepared for the next steps in my journey.”