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.
As a singer, student government representative, and integrated marketing communications major at Ithaca College, Jimmy Knowles knows how to make voices heard.
Freshman year, Jimmy joined Ithacappella, IC’s renowned all-male a cappella group, and was elected to the student government. When faculty steered him into Ithaca’s IMC program, “Something just clicked, and all these different parts of my life came together,” he says.
Jimmy became a lead vocalist and promoter for Ithacappella. Freshman year, he performed a solo at Lincoln Center when the group made it to an international collegiate a cappella competition. The following year, his marketing efforts helped bring 1,200 people to the group’s first concert of the year. “I remember hitting the stage and thinking, ‘I did this. I got these people here.’ That was when I realized what I’m doing is really big,” he says.
That kind of real-world experience helped him snag one of eight internships at New York City–based Serino/Coyne, a top ad agency specializing in Broadway promotions. “They fired questions at me about the work we’d be doing, and I was like, ‘Okay, I did this two months ago in class. I got this,’” he says.
As a junior, Jimmy spearheaded Ithacappella’s involvement in the Trevor Project, which works to prevent suicide among gay youth. The group’s rendition of Katy Perry’s “Firework,” sung with local school kids to benefit the project, went viral on the Internet and drew the attention of MTV, Ellen DeGeneres, Perez Hilton, and others.
Once a senior, Jimmy served as president of both Ithacappella and the senior class. He relished the creativity and collaboration of the Ithaca College community.
“The professors and administrators here really want you to succeed. I have never been told that I can’t do something. It’s always, ‘Let’s find a way to make this work.’ Ithaca College has taught me to believe in myself.”
More on this story: Ithacappella
In high school, I considered myself a pretty good student. Most of my friends took the same classes I did and knew they wanted to be biomedical engineers, environmental scientists, or doctors someday. I was confident in my abilities and had plenty of ideas about my interests, but I wasn’t prepared at 18 to make what I thought was a huge choice. When I was looking for colleges, I wanted a school that acknowledged that it takes time and experience to make that decision. Ithaca College’s Exploratory Program offered me just that.
The Exploratory Program provided me with so many resources. I took a course specifically designed to help college students discover their passions. My faculty advisor, Elizabeth Bleicher, asked me focused questions to reveal potential majors that might suit both my personality and abilities.
In high school I enjoyed physics, and I knew coming in that I wanted to take a college-level course on the subject. Professor Bleicher referred me to Professor Michael “Bodhi” Rogers. His passion is infectious. After completing the introductory class, I realized that I loved physics. I like the logic involved in it. It’s not about memorization—it’s about problem-solving in real life. That intellectual challenge is exactly what I was looking for in my college experience.
The enthusiasm of the people in the physics department also really impressed me. They’re totally dedicated to using a teaching style based on the most current research about how students best learn. I had a class in the performance-based physics classroom—a collaborative learning environment where the professor is in the center with projectors all around, and students are seated in groups so that they can discuss questions before answering. It was one of the most powerful educational experiences I have ever had.
By talking to my faculty advisor and professors, I learned what I can do with a physics major. I can be anything from an engineer to a lawyer or teacher. Educators in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) are in demand, and teaching is something I’m definitely interested in. Physics majors score well on law school entrance tests, and I accepted a summer internship working in the legal department of a technologies corporation. The idea that I could major in a subject that was really important, had a great job outlook, and would still let me do a variety of different things down the road really appealed to me.
I also visited Career Services as part of my exploration, and they helped me discover ways my preferences could be matched with potential careers. That led me to realize that I could actually pursue multiple interests. Now, not only am I a physics major, but I am also a business administration minor.
The Exploratory Program was the reason I came to Ithaca College. Though I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, I didn’t like calling myself “undecided” because I had decided that I wasn’t ready to choose a major yet. I wanted time to explore; I wanted guidance along the way—and that’s exactly what Ithaca gave me.
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