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Transfer students applaud BW faculty and staff 'champions'

As part of National Transfer Student Week, students offered appreciation to some of the people who are in their corner, fueling a successful transition to BW.

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Baldwin Wallace University offers a range of programs to maximize credits and support transfer students and also appears on Phi Theta Kappa's honor roll of the most transfer-friendly colleges in the nation.

But, often, it's the extraordinary, one-to-one personal connection with supportive faculty and staff that makes all the difference.

As part of National Transfer Student Week, which featured a specialized success seminar and career event at BW, some of the 379 transfer students working to finish their degree programs at BW nominated a "transfer champion."

We dug a little deeper into those nominations with three students, who added their own advice for transfer success.

Aspiring nurse applauds biology professor

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Jason Longrich '27 (right), who is studying nursing at BW, nominated biology professor Dr. Natalie Barratt (left) as a "transfer champion."

Jason Longrich '27, who transferred from the University of Maryland to study nursing at BW, was one of two students to nominate biology professor Dr. Natalie Barratt.

Longrich, a veteran who hadn't attended college since 2014, was "extremely nervous" at the start of the semester and "didn't think I was going to be successful." Although he recalls, "coming back to school after so long was a very scary endeavor," Barratt reassured Longrich that adult students often have extra capacity to succeed. She also offered time outside of class to answer all his questions since that initial confidence-boosting conversation.

"She meticulously takes the time out of her schedule to make sure I understand the material presented in class," Longrich says. "And I'm grasping it."

Barratt adds that Longrich "runs his own study group and helps other students to engage with and process the material. His participation in and outside of class and lab helps the class as a whole."

Now that his initial nervousness has faded away, Longrich encourages others to take the transfer plunge. "I found it so easy to be successful. All you have to do is take the first step and reach out. Even if you are struggling, most of the professors do tend to reach out to the students to see how they can help. The compassion at this school and the different programs available to be successful are unparalleled."

Future teacher celebrates transfer faculty champion

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Early childhood education major Kari Adkins '24 (left) with her "transfer champion," education professor Dr. Jeannie Votypka (right).

Early childhood education major Kari Adkins '24 says Dr. Jeannie Votypka is more than an education professor who teaches courses of "astoundingly high quality."

"She is unfailingly kind, supportive, patient, generous, and giving," Adkins adds. "She was my saving grace when I transferred into BW. She took time to get to know me personally, to offer help with anything and everything I might need." 

Adkins came to BW from Ohio University at the start of a spring semester, and while she was a highly motivated and successful student, she worried that a mid-year change of schools would make for an "awkward transition, especially since I was a sophomore commuter student."

That awkwardness soon gave way to meaningful belonging. "BW's small class sizes and welcoming community made me feel much more comfortable and connected, and the faculty went out of their way to show me around, introduce me to other students, and check in on me," Adkins recalls. "I transferred to BW because I wanted to go somewhere where my professors had high standards for me, where the community was supportive and kind, and where I could really thrive, and I feel that I found that in BW.

Adkins, who hails from Westlake, Ohio, has big goals beyond BW, hoping to earn a master's degree from Columbia University and to create a classroom environment that would surely make her BW faculty mentor proud.

"I hope to teach kindergarten to struggling students in New York, where I was born," she explains. "I strive to create an inclusive and culturally responsive classroom, where students are celebrated, wanted, and given every educational opportunity that I can provide them."

Military veteran finds support for 'A to B' transfer

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Casey Senn '24 (left) nominated Mike Brown (right), BW's manager of veteran and military services, as his "transfer champion."

With GI Bill benefits to sort out, along with a busy work schedule and an associate's to bachelor's degree transfer process to navigate, Casey Senn '24 nominated Mike Brown, BW's manager of veteran and military services, as his transfer champion.

"Mike is often at the BW Veterans Center first thing in the morning and always engaging students to make sure they are doing all right in classes or life in general. I have always seen Mike go above and beyond for all students on campus, not just myself or other veterans."

Senn, who transferred to BW from TriC to pursue his "passion" of public history, spent 20 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, enlisting after 9/11 and retiring from active duty in November 2021. "I wanted to uphold my promise to my mother when I joined in 2001 that when I got out, I would go to college and earn my bachelor's degree," he remembers.

"I have been extremely happy with the decision to transfer to BW so far, as I have thoroughly enjoyed the subject matter, the internship opportunities, and the professors I get to learn from!"

Senn hopes to leverage his degree and experience in a future career with the National Park Service or a similar organization that will connect him to nature. He wants "to help people appreciate the natural wonders all around us, better understand geology’s impact on the course of human history and the cumulative effects of human history on the environment."

Degree completion matters

It pays for students like Senn to complete a four-year degree.

Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that even those with an associate's degree will see a sizeable bump in income and lower lifetime unemployment if they earn a bachelor's degree or more.  

 For more information on transferring to BW, visit the transfer students page. 

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