After a thorough search and various in-state college applications, Hannah Marcos decided to join the Florida Tech campus community in Melbourne, FL.
Marcos, who started as an on-campus student, transitioned into the online program because she trusted Florida Tech after years of experience with faculty members and peers. She was also looking for more flexibility and an individual approach to her education without compromising quality.
As a recipient of the Presidential Scholarship for her on-campus studies, the young grad was astonished by the similarity between the campus and online experience.
“The online experience through Florida Tech is really effective. The classes are well structured, they’re easy to look through and to understand. And there are course evaluations that keep professors to a standard. They also offer information about what I should be looking for in the courses and what resources are available to me.”
She’s also confident that her AA in Healthcare Management is a “strong backbone to have,” while she gets ready to pursue an engineering degree.
“I’ll be able to navigate through life, having that knowledge and making more educated decisions.”
We spoke with Marcos about her experience in an online classroom, her support system and future plans.
Q. Tell us about your background.
My background is very diverse, as my parents, family friends and other influences had different ethnic backgrounds and strengths. It helped me develop into a more well-rounded and open-minded individual, which helped me find and facilitate equally accepting and diversified circumstances. Prior to beginning at Florida Tech, the majority of my behavior could be categorized as introverted, and I found much more solace in participating in solo activities such as reading, art and photography.
Being immersed in such an empowering environment – both on-campus and through Florida Tech’s online platform – hasn’t decreased the presence of these activities in my lifestyle, but it has expanded the domain of my preferred leisure activities (hobbies such as music, volunteering/community service, chess, and ‘go green’ initiatives), along with instilling the ability to put myself into positive social situations.
Q. What was the most challenging part of your student journey?
The most challenging part of my journey has been accepting change and asking for assistance when needed. I have always valued independence and self-sufficiency, but taking difficult classes and valuing true learning has required a level of vulnerability and initiative I struggled with much more at the beginning compared to now.
At the end of the day, it was hard, though necessary, to prioritize understanding information over temporarily memorizing the superficial content of a concept or jumping to another subject or activity I had a more natural aptitude for.
Q. What were the most important factors in your decision to choose Florida Tech?
Originally, I wasn’t even sure college was the right next step for me. I applied to all the in-state colleges on the college app, and Florida Tech was one of the institutions that accepted me. That perspective changed as soon as I was able to tour the college campus and research the various curriculums, as the people I interfaced with, and even the campus itself just completely connected with who I felt I was.
Little did I know that beyond the decent housing and cafeteria food were numerous research labs, professors and students alike that would encourage my progression between several different majors and academic projects, eventually settling on business to meet my needs and ambitions at the time.
Choosing to transition to this particular online school was fueled by a well-earned trust in Florida Tech’s programs and the consistent attitude held toward students. I never felt inclined to question the caliber of courses or professors I interfaced with, and now having completed the program, they exceeded all my expectations.
Q. How will your Florida Tech degree make a difference in your career?
Even if I do not end up directly using my degree throughout my career path, I genuinely believe the learned skills will help me reach executive positions and a greater understanding of the ‘bigger picture’ within organizations. Overall, having a degree is very empowering and makes my prospective next steps seem less steep than I used to conceptualize them being. This degree, especially with it being obtained primarily online, has also taught me effective ways to manage my time, be responsible for my own actions and learning, along with having balance and focus.
Q. Do you have any future plans for your degree?
After finishing my degree, I have applied to continue my education and several internships. I am excited to walk through one of the many doors Florida Tech’s education and connections have opened for me, and I hope that these plans eventually lead to associating with Florida Tech again in the future.
Q. What surprised you most about the online degree program?
What surprised me the most about the online degree program was how available and proactive the professors were. I never dealt with an unanswered question or email, and each week I often received class updates, feedback, personalized messages and weekly expectations in my Canvas inbox. The seamlessness combined with a very easy format and excellent organization made independent efforts and learning viable.
Q. What was your most valuable takeaway from the degree program?
I unexpectedly learned about an industry that is very relevant and controversial in society, gained a new perspective on education as a whole – along with its practical applications, and patience towards myself. Since interfaces were conducted digitally, teamwork took on an entirely new persona, which required me to develop skills like communication, goal setting and problem-solving. This, as a result, also aided me in better understanding the capabilities of digital applications that can be applied in any workplace.
Q. What advice would you give other students who are considering enrolling in a degree?
My advice would be to feel comfortable and confident asking for advice. Whenever unsure, it’s important to acknowledge that someone else has asked any given question before or have had similar needs.
In the case of being a Florida Tech student, it is even more important to ask for advice and help, because every staff member I had the opportunity to interface with throughout registration, tutoring, advising, or otherwise, has been irreplaceable.
The collective staff has an authentic focus on helping students – not only meet goals- but set higher ones. They take the time to fill a student’s environment with one of the most important notions in education: possibility, along with the structural reinforcement and solid plans towards making personal and academic ideals into realities.
Q. Who has been your support system?
My support system can be summed up as being my family. At first, it was the continuity of the people that had aided my progress prior to college; however, it soon expanded to the campus staff, professors, advisors, and growing Panther family I had acquired both on-campus and online. These amazing participants in my journey have guided me to where I am now by helping me learn how to approach my future rather than predetermining what it needed to be.
Q. Who or what inspires you to succeed?
More than anyone, my mother and aunt have inspired me endlessly, whether it be their ability to defy the gende, Ar norms that were heavily present in their generation to become a successful electrical engineer and family practitioner, respectively, or their ability to combat unhealthy situations and toxic relationships in a way that will set an example for my present and future self: that of strength, morality and determination.
Other sources of inspiration have been my academic advisors, who have given me ample options and support semester after semester.
Q. What is one fun fact about you?
One fun fact about me is that I love animals, and throughout this online program, I adopted/rescued:
- One cat from the SPCA
- Two bearded dragons
- Two axolotls
- One flying squirrel
- One plecostomus