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For Immediate Release (00-29)
Date: June 26, 2000
Contact: Steve Simon, 240-567-7952 (pager: 301-930-2880)

Recent Montgomery College Grads Thrive at Next Level
Community College Sends More Students to Maryland Universities than Any Other

Montgomery County, MD -- Montgomery College sends more graduates to University of Maryland System schools than any other community college in the state -- that's a fact. But two recent graduates of Montgomery College highlight the fact that the College’s graduates not only show up in numbers, they often excel once they arrive.

Lionel Best, a native of Guyana who now resides in Gaithersburg, transferred to the University of Maryland at College Park two years ago to follow his dream of becoming a physician. He has maintained a 4.0 grade point average while attending Maryland and will receive a Bachelors of Science in biology this August.

"Attending Montgomery College was a huge, huge help in preparing me to succeed at a big school like Maryland," said Best, who is applying to medical schools around the country, but has his heart set on attending either Harvard University or Johns Hopkins University.

Gillian Reid recently graduated magna cum laude from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in Rehabilitation Services, after starting her college career at Montgomery College, taking non-credit developmental reading courses. Reid, a native of Jamaica and currently a Gaithersburg resident, said starting with remedial courses was disappointing, but now helps her to understand the issues people with severe developmental disabilities have to face.

"Looking back, it has only helped," said Reid, who is currently working with emotionally and psychologically impaired individuals at a Silver Spring center serving this community.

According to the latest figures from the Maryland Higher Education Commission, Montgomery College sent 1,466 graduates to four-year public universities and colleges in Maryland, the most of any community college for the 1997-1998 academic year. The number of transfers to Maryland senior schools represents 90 percent of the students who graduated from Montgomery College in the 1997-1998 school year.

Scholastic achievement figures for the 1997-1998 academic year show Montgomery College students performing significantly above the state average of 2.67, or C+ on the standard grade point system, for students attending the University of Maryland System schools. The College’s transfer students carried a 2.79 grade point average, or a B- on the standard grade point system.

"The success of our transfer students highlights the point that Montgomery College is fulfilling its mission to prepare our students for the academic or professional worlds that await them," said Charlene R. Nunley, president of Montgomery College. "We work to ensure they succeed while they are here, and we are proud of them when they achieve success after they move on."

Best and Reid typify the types of students who are contributing to Montgomery College’s success rate at four-year schools within the University of Maryland System.

Best, 29, immigrated to the United States with his family in 1991 from Guyana in South America. After working for several years, he chose to enter Montgomery College in the hopes of "getting my foot in the door" of the medical profession.

While attending Montgomery College, Best received several academic scholarships and was inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa honor society. In his final year, his academic achievements won him a spot on the All-Maryland Academic Team. Best cited the small classes, the direct interaction of students with professors and the academic excellence of the courses as factors in his success then and now.

"The experience of going to Montgomery College allowed me to master studying on my own. It matured me as a student and helped me regain my confidence," he said. "It taught me survival tactics."

During her years at Montgomery College, Reid, 22, had to work in order to pay for her schooling. She noted the experience matured her as a person and taught her significant time management skills that served her well at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.

"I didn’t spend every minute studying, but you didn’t find me at a party if there was a test the next day," Reid said. "If I had gone away right after high school, I would have been so unprepared."

Reid also cited her involvement with the Ethnic Awareness Club during her years at Montgomery College as another factor in her building confidence in her abilities to achieve at Eastern Shore. According to Reid, the self-assurance that resulted from her involvement with the club prepared her to take on one the most challenging tasks of her studies at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore – assisting in an academic research project. She and two other student volunteers went into the field and collected data on the impacts of mainstreaming mentally impaired individuals into the work force of the Eastern Shore.

"It was one of the achievements I am most proud of," said Reid, adding she anxiously anticipates the publication date of the academic article in which she will be cited as a member of the research team.

 

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