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Photo of Cody Lemke

Degree or certificate program at CLC: A.S. chemistry, 2015.

Transfer school, degree and year: Iowa State University, where he earned B.S. in biochemistry in 2017 and is pursuing a master’s degree in the field. He also minored in microbiology.

Hometown: Ingleside, Ill.

High school: Grant Community High School, 2013.

High school clubs and activities: Football, baseball and competitive cheerleading.

CLC clubs and activities: Honors Scholars, Student Government Association, Phi Theta Kappa honor society.

Interests and hobbies: Snowboarding, biking, running, hiking and backpacking.

Cody Lemke

I would like a career that really makes a difference and positively affects the world. Since I’ve always been interested in health and medicine, the idea of working in pharmaceutical research really appeals to me.

At CLC, I fell in love with chemistry. It explains the natural world and how things fit together. From general chemistry to advanced courses such as organic chemistry, the professors were really helpful. One prepared us for each lab by giving a short demonstration of what we’d be learning that day. She also applied the concepts to daily life, such as the role of non-polar chemical bonds in the effectiveness of laundry detergents. Outside of class, the professor helped me understand why I got a particular test question wrong, and we used it as a learning opportunity. She also answered my questions on career interests and helped me decide which classes to take.

My all-time favorite class was a special-topics English class that studied myths and fairy tales. We read a variety of literature, from Grimm’s fairy tales to Norse mythology to the Epic of Gilgamesh from ancient Mesopotamia. It was fascinating to read how the fairy tales were designed to teach lessons, and the course was a neat way of looking at cultures. The professor asked really deep questions that made us students think about what we were reading. He always encouraged class discussions, and we would apply the lessons of fairy tales to concepts to psychology and sociology.

Besides the excellent classes, I grew—and made new friends—by being active in the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) honor society and as a student senator. My job in CLC’s PTK chapter was organizing events and giving presentations to members on taking advantages of scholarships. Prior to joining PTK, I didn’t have much public speaking experience. But I soon learned that if you know your material well and practice your speech ahead of time, you’re much less likely to feel anxiety.

As a student senator, I learned how to debate and discuss with others of opposing opinions—without getting angry or letting things get out of hand. I also gained experience balancing budgets, reviewing proposed legislation and planning events.

CLC did great job in preparing me for Iowa State University, where I’ve been successful biochemistry major and active in the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB). In April 2017, I attended the ASBMB’s annual meeting in Chicago, and it was an honor to receive an honorable mention for my undergraduate poster presentation titled “DNA, RNA, Chromosomes and Gene Regulation.”

After earning a master’s degree, I’d like to work for a pharmaceutical manufacturer, researching and developing new medicines.

Students need to realize what a great bargain CLC is. The college’s freshman and sophomore-level classes are the same as at a four-year school. By starting out at CLC, you can complete half of a bachelor’s degree at much lower price than if you start at a four-year institution. I was able to receive transfer scholarships, and I’m relieved that my student debt is far less than others who started at a four-year school and are now more than $60,000 in debt.