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Your CLC Success Story

Melissa Marra
Antioch High School

(Class of 2011)

Degree at CLC and year obtained: A.A. degree in 2014.

Transfer school: University of Wisconsin-Parkside; majoring in geosciences.

Hometown: Antioch, Ill.

High school clubs and activities: student council, psychology club, math team, softball team.

Interests and hobbies: Reading, movies, collecting older music that you play on record players. I’m really into classic rock by groups such as Led Zeppelin.

I want to do something that will really change world, through public speaking or educating. I want to travel and keep volunteering, working outdoors. I’d like to get my geosciences degree then join either the AmeriCorps or the Peace Corps.

My two favorite courses have been Environmental Biology and Introduction to Ethics. I loved being part of the hands-on learning in Environmental Biology. The instructor (Kelly Cartwright) was passionate and gave us examples of how to change the way we live. I’m more aware of what I’m doing environmentally and what other communities are doing. I’m using less water and I’m eating healthier―trying really hard to eat fish and stop eating meat. After the class ended, I still stay in contact with Kelly.

In my Introduction to Ethics class, the instructor Robert Uhwat was amazing. Everybody was captivated, and there was never a dull moment. He’s so knowledgeable, but down to earth and open-minded, and he made everybody open-minded. You have to talk about risky topics and examine the other side of an argument.

I made new friends at CLC, inside and outside of class. I was involved with the student Volunteer Club, which works with the United Way of Lake County. One organization that we helped was Bernie’s Book Bank, which gathers and redistributes new and gently used children’s books to at-risk infants and children throughout the Chicago area.

I also was part of CLC’s first service-learning trip abroad trip. In late December 2013, I traveled to Peru for a two-week trip with five other CLC students and Fred Hutchinson, a sociology professor. There were so many different ecosystems in Peru, it was breathtaking, especially Machu Picchu (an 8,000-ft. mountain and Inca site). We learned about Peruvian culture and history, and for several days, we visited a senior citizens’ center in a lower-income area. It was incredible to see their faces. They were so appreciative of us coming to spend time to help shop for groceries, serve them lunch and visit with them. I’m thankful the service learning was offered here at CLC. Not many get this opportunity to go somewhere for the purpose of making a difference and making people smile. It’s important to volunteer and make a change in your world.

I really enjoyed the diversity of students. In a meteorology course, I had a 65-year-old man as a lab partner, and we got along really well. And with the international students, I’ve gotten to meet so many cool and different people. The international fair was one of my favorite days at CLC. There were exhibits, food, history and traditions.