Community college student takes his education to MIT
Jeannie Peng-Armao -- April 23, 2012
PASADENA, Texas — Darren Seibert of Seabrook started his higher education at San Jacinto College (SJC) and has since landed a golden opportunity to study at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
In Fall 2012, Seibert will enroll in MIT's brain and cognitive sciences department, where he'll pursue his doctorate. With the ultimate goal of becoming a professor himself, Seibert said he would not have advanced this far in his education without a solid foundation established at a community college.
"San Jac has really helped me build a solid foundation, particularly in science and engineering," said Seibert, who began his SJC education as a dual credit student at La Porte High School. "I knew my professors, and they knew me and my strengths and weaknesses. Ms. (Sharon) Sledge in my calculus I class and Dr. (Dolores) Aquino from chemistry encouraged me to apply for summer internships because they are great opportunities to give myself a good professional network and to grow as a scientist."
Due to his own initiative and determination, plus strong recommendations from his SJC professors, Seibert was accepted to a research internship with Rice University and Carnegie Mellon University. In 2008, he transferred to the University of Houston College of Engineering, while also finishing up SJC courses at the same time.
Top universities often look to recruit students with strong community college education because the students have already proven their ability to succeed in a higher education environment, according to a Community College Review article. In instances such as Seibert's, universities are set to gain students who have already performed well in college and who have built credentials with internship research opportunities.
Aquino said SJC strives to prepare students, like Seibert, for science and engineering programs at four-year institutions by using many of the same textbooks of major Texas universities.
"Darren has always been very goal-oriented toward neuroscience," said Aquino. "He took the initiative to apply for and be accepted to two summer undergraduate research experiences. Those programs gave him research experience and helped solidify his interest in neuroscience. They also paid a stipend, which allowed him to participate without having to work an outside job.”
Aquino noted that Seibert also participated in the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LS-AMP) program at the SJC Central Campus."
The LS-AMP provides study group and volunteer experience to participants along with a stipend that allows them to focus on school without needing to work. It is not limited to minorities, but does require that the students major in a hard science, engineering or mathematics.
"My advice to any high school student considering college is to first look to his or her community college because it definitely prepares you for your work at a university," said Seibert. "However, a large part of a person's college education is about taking the initiative and having the desire to learn."
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. The Achieving the Dream Leader College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of 30,000 students in more than 200 degree and certificate options, including university transfer and career preparation. Students also benefit from the College’s job training programs, renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $630 million each year to the Texas workforce. San Jacinto College. Your Goals. Your College.
For more information about San Jacinto College, please call 281-998-6150, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.