Ithaca College Will Make You Ready
With a vibrant community, professors who inspire, and the hands-on experience you need to dive into your field with confidence.
Life after graduation can take a lot of twists. Julie Perng’s degree in organizational communication from Ithaca College is a long way from the Ph.D. in agricultural and applied economics she’s pursuing. But her journey into that field began as a member of the Martin Luther King Scholar Program at IC.
“The MLK program changed my life and who I am profoundly,” Julie says. “It was a huge part of my college experience.”
Julie’s path began with a journey to Brazil, her first international trip as an MLK scholar. Her social justice research—a key part of the MLK program—was on homophobia; from there she took a broader interest in social issues. As a sophomore, she received funding to attend a conference on LGBT issues. At that conference she met some people concerned with fair trade, which became a new passion.
Julie went on to found a fair-trade club on campus, and she focused the final two years of her MLK program research on trade. The next major twist in Julie’s route to her Ph.D. was a Fulbright scholarship to study in China.
Julie spent three years in China, first researching rural-to-urban migration and ecotourism and then working for the Nature Conservancy—making use of her communications degree. Later she moved back to the United States and began working with various federal agencies as part of a project management and consulting firm.
“My company funded graduate work, so I started taking classes in applied economics because I knew that’s where I wanted to go.” She is focusing her thesis on ecotourism and recently conducted exploratory research in Costa Rica, a country she had visited before with the MLK program.
“I really need to understand the history of tourism in Costa Rica. I also need to understand other aspects of the country that will be important for my analysis and the methodologies I want to use.”
Julie credits the interdisciplinary focus of the MLK program—and Ithaca College—with providing perspectives that come in handy despite the fact that economics is perceived as being all about numbers.
“In the end, even though I’m doing economics, math, and statistics, I still have to explain the human element to my stories.”
And though her academic background isn’t the same as others in her new field, she doesn’t see that as a setback.
“Ithaca College began my road to where I am today. I had a winding path to get where I am, but I’m tackling everything, even when I have limitations. I’m prepared in terms of doing research and writing and independent thinking.”
>> More on this story: Ithaca College recognized as a top producer of Fulbright students
For Nancy Patterson, baseball is more about pulled hamstrings and sore muscles than RBIs and ERAs. Working with the Inland Empire 66ers, a former minor league affiliate of baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers, turned out to be the perfect first step to her dream job.
The path to the Inland Empire team ran straight through Ithaca, where Nancy earned her bachelor’s degree in clinical exercise science and athletic training in 2006 and a master’s in exercise and sport sciences two years later. Ithaca College prepared her well, she says, for the challenge of pro sports: “The first time being on your own with a team can be nerve-wracking. But between the classes at Ithaca and our on-field experience, I felt very well prepared.”
That on-field experience included working with several Ithaca sports teams and internships with minor league affiliates of the Seattle Mariners and Boston Red Sox.
“When I first graduated, I felt like I was much more prepared and experienced than recent grads from other programs,” Patterson says. “I attribute this to the way IC’s program is put together and the outstanding professors who put in the extra time and effort to help the students succeed.”
And succeed she has. After joining the Inland Empire 66ers team as its athletic trainer in the winter of 2009, Nancy got promoted to the AA Chattanooga Lookouts. Then the call from the big leagues came: she’s now assistant athletic trainer for the L.A. Dodgers.
“Going to Ithaca is what allowed me to go into baseball,” Nancy says. “Everyone has heard of Ithaca’s athletic training program.”
>> More on this story: Office of Experiential Learning
- Campus Life and Leadership
- Health Sciences
- Humanities and Social Sciences
- Internships and Fieldwork
- Math and Natural Sciences
- Music and Performing Arts
- All Categories