Feature Story

At Widener, Transfer Students Get on Track to a Degree

Emily Barrett and Jessica Reyes, assistant directors of communications
Students walking past pride statues

The track to earning a degree is different for every student. Just ask Tamica Johnson.

Johnson transferred to Widener for a chance to change careers and pursue a lifelong dream of becoming a nurse.

“I always had a passion for nursing,” Johnson explained. “I want to complete my goal.”

Johnson earned an associate’s degree in radiology nearly 15 years ago, and then started a nursing bachelor’s program at another university. However, she didn’t complete the program.

I thought I would give up and forget about nursing, but then I looked into Widener. —Tamica Johnson

Widener was a perfect fit to complete her bachelor’s degree – many of her credits transferred and the

Tamica Johnson poses at work in medical protection equipment.
Tamica Johnson, who works as CAT scan technologist, transferred to Widener to fulfill her goal of becoming a nurse.

university offered flexible classes, which worked with her schedule as a full-time working mother. She also found a strong support network of faculty and staff, especially from Academic Advisor Amber White in Graduate Studies & Extended Learning.

“Amber has worked with me since day one,” Johnson said. “Anytime I have a question, she is there. She has pushed me and has had my back.”

Johnson earned a bachelor’s degree in allied health from Widener’s Center for Extended Learning in May. This August, she continues with Widener’s accelerated nursing bachelor’s degree program, which is designed for second-degree and transfer students who want to become registered nurses in 22 months.

Johnson is one of the many transfer students who has found the right academic program at Widener. Whether applying from a four-year institution or through one of many pathway programs available at local community colleges, Widener’s admissions team partnership with students to put them on track to earning a degree. 

“For a transfer student the biggest questions are ‘what kind of transfer credits will I receive from my previous coursework’ and ‘how long with it take me to graduate’,” said Crina Drayer, associate director of undergraduate transfer admissions.

To answer these questions, Drayer and the university’s admissions counselors partner with students to evaluate transferable credits and connect them directly with faculty in their interested areas of study.


I work very closely with both faculty and administrators from different departments to make sure that transfer students get the best services. —Crina Drayer, associate director of undergraduate transfer admissions


That individualized attention gives students the confidence that previous course work and credits can be

Electrical engineering student Kevin Ellis
With an associates degree from Delaware Technical Community College, Kevin Ellis enrolled in Widener's 4+1 engineering program.

applied to their academic careers at Widener. It was this hands-on, one-on-one support that enabled electrical engineering major Kevin Ellis to transition nearly all of his credits from Delaware Technical Community College. 

“I had 55 credits transfer which is wonderful because I know that maybe only 20 or 30 credits were supposed to transfer,” said Ellis. Widener faculty sat down with him, carefully reviewed the curriculum covered in his previous coursework, and determined he was entitled to the additional credits. Today he is enrolled in the accelerated 4+1 master’s program.

“I’d say 90 percent of that was due to the faculty helping me.”

Support and guidance provided by faculty advisors from day one is a key component to a successful transition for transfer students. As Drayer explained, a number of these faculty-student relationships grow into lifelong mentorships.

“The type of relationship that faculty develop with transfer students is absolutely incredible,” said Drayer.

Diamond Schuler Douyon poses with Professor Corbo at her graduation.
Diamond Schuler Douyon poses with Dr. Angie Corbo at her 2018 commencement ceremony.

“They know so much about them and the students trust them.”

Diamond Schuler Douyon '18 couldn’t agree more. 

Schuler Douyon transferred to Widener after earning an associate’s degree in journalism at Bucks County Community College. With a goal of earning a bachelor’s degree in communication studies, Schuler Douyon was matched with faculty advisor and associate professor Angie Corbo, who Schuler Douyon refers to as “my guardian angel.”

“Dr. Corbo has been so pivotal to my transition into adulthood and into my career,” Schuler Douyon said.

Like many faculty, Corbo worked with Schuler Douyon to build an academic plan that fit her coursework, internships, and extracurricular activities while still graduating on time.


I was determined to finish in two years to meet my own personal timeline and Widener made that really easy for me to do so. —Schuler Douyon '18


Transferring to Widener also gave Schuler Douyon access to its network of alumni, including Communication Studies Advisory Board member Doug Ferguson, who pointed her to a national internship opportunity.

“I think it speaks to the pride that Widener has and the connections that alumni have access to for students.”

She landed a three-month internship at Drexel University which quickly transitioned into full-time employment. She now works as assistant director of alumni relations at Drexel but still keeps in contact with Corbo and other faculty at Widener, who she credits for much of her professional success. 

“She is one of those people who has gone above and beyond the call of being a professor and advisor,” Schuler Douyon said. “I’m so grateful to Widener for bringing her to me.”
 

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