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.
When it came time for Rochelle Frankson to choose a college, her mother had a suggestion for her: Ithaca College. Her mom had heard about Ithaca during an informational meeting for parents. Rochelle is from Jamaica, and the meeting was part of a program to prepare families to apply to American schools.
“She heard the name Ithaca College enough for her to remember and tell me, ‘Apply to that one.’ A lot of good things were said in the meeting about IC,” Rochelle says.
As a chemistry major, Rochelle discovered an interest in medicine. She contemplated pre-med studies, but her interests led elsewhere. “I was falling more and more in love with the science of medicine, not the actual practice of it. When I heard about pharmacology, I knew that was what I wanted to do.”
Rochelle’s inclination toward pharmacology led to lab internships during which she used X-ray and computer analyses to see how certain acids bonded to a protein known as histone-deacetylase-8, and how those acids stopped or slowed activity in the protein through crystallization. Research shows that the protein is overactive in cases of colon and prostate cancer, and their goal in the lab was to identify potential acid “inhibitors” that other researchers could someday use in developing new cancer treatments.
In the spring of her senior year, Rochelle traveled to New Orleans to attend an American Chemical Society conference with classmates and professors from IC’s chemistry department. A big take-away for Rochelle was a talk about the lack of basic scientific knowledge among the general population and why it’s important for scientists to help keep the public informed.
“You’re doing this research to eventually help other people. You have to translate it for the nonscientific community.”
Rochelle also found time to be a student leadership consultant with the Office of Student Engagement and Multicultural Affairs and was involved with Service Saturdays. “I love creating events or just being in an office or doing little tasks that are ultimately helping the wider community.”
After graduating, Rochelle went into a Ph.D. program at Indiana University. She compared departing IC to leaving family and described the chemistry department as “very close-knit” among the students and teachers.
“I expected the professor-student relationship to only be professional. But they actually have a vested interest in you as a person.”
When Sarah Brylinsky started her freshman year at IC, she’d never heard of sustainability. Now, as the living laboratory manager at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sarah’s role on campus is to make sure students and faculty understand sustainability and have the tools and resources they need to incorporate sustainability into their courses and campus life.
“Where I am right now is a natural progression that started my freshman year when I took a first-year seminar called Introduction to Sustainability,” Sarah said. “The seminar showed how people, profits, and the planet interlock. I saw how I could be involved in social and civic justice and feel empowered. I had a path forward.”
Applying lessons learned in the classroom, Sarah introduced sustainability practices in Ithaca’s residence halls, developed a campus-wide student climate movement, and co-organized a NATO advanced research workshop on the role of environmental security in higher education. Her efforts earned her the 2008 Student Sustainability Leadership Award, a national honor given annually by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.
Sarah received the award the same year she graduated from IC with a bachelor’s in communication management and design. She had four job offers: “Four universities were looking for a full-time sustainability coordinator. Their offers were clearly based on the sustainability projects I’d done at IC.”
After launching a successful career leading sustainability initiatives in higher education, Sarah decided it was vital for her to continue her own education. First considering graduate programs in climate and environmental science, she discovered a program at Ithaca that more closely fit her goals—the master of science in communications innovation.
“I started my career not because I wanted to be a climate scientist but because I wanted to communicate in new ways. I want to make sure students in this country graduate with an understanding of sustainability as a fundamental part of their education. So what better way for me to launch my career into the next phase than to think about how to communicate in new and innovative ways within my field.”
Thanks to a curriculum that includes media economics, systems modeling, and ethical issues; thanks also to an online format and special topics seminars that accommodate the demands of home and work life; and thanks to the Art Moore ’66 Scholarship, awarded to students whose costs are not fully covered by their employers, the communications innovation master’s degree gave Sarah a platform to collaborate closely with other forward-thinking communications executives. The program’s think-tank model is helping her advance her long-term mission.
“The communications innovation M.S. blends successful communications strategy with fresh thinking. Working with colleagues in disparate fields such as international relations, e-media, and digital production is helping me transform higher education as a means of creating a sustainable society.”
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