Cathy Gutierrez is one of Valencia’s many success stories. The 22-year-old, who graduated from the University of Central Florida in May, has been accepted to Harvard Medical School.
She may be finishing at Harvard, but Gutierrez started at Valencia’s Osceola Campus, where she earned her Associate in Arts degree. There, she discovered a passion for science and, thanks to Valencia’s DirectConnect to UCF program, she transferred seamlessly to UCF, where she continued to excel in her studies.
In a front-page article on May 11, 2014, the Orlando Sentinel spotlighted Gutierrez and DirectConnect to UCF, the unique partnership that Valencia and other area state colleges have created with the University of Central Florida.
DirectConnect to UCF, the Sentinel noted, has helped thousands of low-income and minority students earn bachelor’s degrees — and has also changed the racial and ethnic makeup of UCF’s student body.
The mission of DirectConnect is simple: To provide a streamlined path from an associate degree at a local community college to a bachelor’s degree at UCF.
Students who can’t get into UCF as freshmen or choose to start at a community college are guaranteed admission as juniors if they obtain an Associate in Arts and some types of Associate in Science degrees from Valencia, Seminole State, Lake-Sumter State or Eastern Florida State College. UCF and the community colleges created and coordinate the program together.
Click here to read the rest of the Orlando Sentinel article about DirectConnect to UCF.