Brooke Coonrod, a biological science major from Nazareth, has been chosen for the honor of being a class speaker at the winter commencement celebration.

Although she knew from an early age that she wanted to be a teacher, it was at NCC that she discovered her passion for biochemistry while taking a biology for non-majors course with Professor Jeannie Smith during her first semester. To continue toward her pursuit of medical research and college-level teaching, she will be transferring to Moravian College, which has awarded her the Community College Fellowship Scholarship.

Her advice for students in biological science is to follow their hearts and not to be afraid of pursuing their passion.  “The courses are challenging, but the professors are willing to help if you put the work in,” she says.  “They really put their students first and go above and beyond what their jobs entail.  If science is where your heart is, you will succeed with hard work.”

Throughout college, Coonrod developed skills and interacted with students outside her major by participating in many clubs, including Phi Theta Kappa (president), Science Club (president), Biology and Chemistry Peer Tutoring Program at the Science Resource Center, Spring 2020 Leadership Class, Psychology Club, and Honors Program.

While having had panic disorder, which strongly affected her childhood, NCC’s supportive environment allowed her to grow.  “I am incredibly thankful for the opportunities, experiences and people NCC has led me to,” she says.  I have been motivated to excel in my academics.  NCC staff, faculty and my fellow students have helped me overcome my obstacles and given me the hope and motivation to succeed. 

Coonrod also appreciates NCC’s high academic quality.  “The best things about my NCC program are the professors and the intellectual challenge,” she says.  

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Myra Saturen has been a writer for organizations for thirty years, including 14 for NCC. She has a bachelor's degree in English from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Binghamton and a master's degree in social work from Columbia University. In addition to writing for organizations, she has written for a variety of magazines and has had two young adult novels published. She also works as a writing tutor in NCC's Learning Center. She is a native New Yorker who has lived in Bethlehem Township for thirty-one years. She is married with two adult children. Her hobbies are reading, yoga and exercise.