Jenny Currier enrolled at Great Bay Community College right out of high school and was on her way to earning her associate degree in biotechnology when Covid-19 interrupted her plans. She had enough credits by then for a certificate, so she stopped taking classes and leveraged her certificate for a job at biotech giant Lonza Portsmouth.
Currier, who has worked at Lonza for two years is now a level 2 manufacturing operator, recently returned to Great Bay to complete her pursuit of an associate degree. “I set a goal when I was younger to at least get my associate degree, and I want to show myself that I can do it,” said Currier, now 22. “I always struggled in school, so this was a goal I wanted to accomplish.”
She expects to complete her associate degree this semester. Her decision to return to college was motivated, in part, by non-traditional students she met at Great Bay before the pandemic. “I attended classes with a lot of people who were returning to school later in life, including one gentleman who was in his 70s. There were others in their late 20s and 30s,” she said. “I was inspired by their drive to come back to school.”
Currier, who lives in Newmarket, also was motived by the professional opportunities she will qualify for because of her associate degree. “I want to move up, and the degree means I will be able to jump to a different department,” she said. “This was my plan all along, but sometimes life gets in the way – or sometimes the pandemic gets in the way.”
At each stage of her Great Bay experience – from her participation in automatic acceptance day during high school, to her dropping out because of the chaos of Covid, to her decision to enroll again and finish what she started – the faculty and staff have always helped and supported her, she said.
Currier singled out her adviser, Deborah Audino, a biotechnology professor, program coordinator, and cheerleader for the department and its students. In addition to helping in the classroom, Audino connected Currier with a Lonza recruiter two years ago. “Deb has been extremely helpful to me in accomplishing all my goals, all along. In addition to helping me with Lonza, she has encouraged me to come back and continue my degree,” she said. “Just having somebody by my side to say, ‘You can do this,’ has been extremely helpful. I would not have started or finished this if not for Deb.”