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Carolanne Norris

After earning an associate degree, it didn’t take long for Carolanne Norris to know where her next steps would take her. Although she initially planned to enroll at another local institution, she quickly changed her mind. “I absolutely fell in love with the campus and Westerville. After meeting with some of the faculty here and getting scholarship offers, I made the decision to attend Otterbein,” she said.     

Norris earned an honors associate of science degree from Columbus State Community College in the summer of 2016. “At CSCC I was part of the Honors Program and STEM club and these two groups decided to host a college fair day where colleges from across Ohio came to talk to us. I had originally planned to go to another university once I graduated. After talking with Mary Mosca from the Admission team, I decided to look more into Otterbein,” she said.  

She enrolled as a chemistry major, with minors in biology and psychology in the fall of 2016 as a transfer student.

Norris said transferring to Otterbein was very easy. Admission staff, faculty members, her advisor, Dr. Joan Esson, and the staffs of the Center for Professional Development and Center for Student Success answered all her questions.    

Not only were faculty and staff friendly, she was surprised at how helpful and nice everyone on campus was. “Even other students were extremely helpful in giving tips on how to get around campus, the popular restaurants, and parking tips. And it was helpful to hear another’s students advice on how to succeed in the classes,” she said.

“The classroom environment is both conducive to learning and allows for you to have fun. The teachers here are very intelligent and good at explaining complex topics in a multitude of ways that everyone can understand, with a little humor thrown in,” she added.   

Norris is taking advantage of every opportunity as an Otterbein student that she can squeeze into her schedule. Besides working off campus for 16-20 hours per week, she participates in research on campus and is part of Cardinal Science Scholars and the Honors program. She also volunteers at a local elementary school to help young students with their reading skills.   

She’s looking forward to attending the American Chemical Society’s national conference in April in San Francisco.   

Norris feels she is being prepared for her career because Otterbein has given her the opportunity to apply real life applications to the class material. “I would like to go into forensic science and work in a special victims unit. My main goal is to continue to make technological advances in the field to help increase the conviction rate for hate and sex crimes,” she said.

“It helps to get involved with research with a professor that is working on a project in your area of interest. I have had the amazing opportunity to work in Dr. Esson’s lab and the lessons that I am learning there will be used for the rest of my career,” she said.  

Otterbein students are encouraged to continue developing career options through internships.  Norris said she is in the process of applying for summer internships. “The Center for Career and Professional Development (CCPD) is beyond helpful when you are looking into getting an internship. These include looking over your resume and cover letter, internship searches, and mock interviews.”  

After graduating, Norris intends to pursue a graduate degree.  

She encourages others to follow her path. “My advice would be to come and visit the campus. Get in contact with teachers and faculty in the department you are interested in. Everybody here at Otterbein, and in the community, are kind and helpful. The people here want to get to know you as a person and are here to help you succeed.”