As a child growing up in Monterey, Calif., Carson Martin loved visiting the world-famous aquarium and had her heart set on a career in marine biology. But when she moved at age seven to Indiana with her family and saw cornfields instead of beaches, she knew she’d have to change her plans.
Martin did everything she could to position herself well, excelling as a student and graduating at the top of her class at the Academy of Science & Entrepreneurship, part of the New Tech Network in Bloomington. During that time she decided to pursue a career in dental hygiene.
“I wanted to start on a career early in life that would support me and that would be secure,” Martin said. “People will always need their teeth cleaned.”
As she weighed acceptance offers from Indiana University, Hanover College, Butler University and other schools, she appreciated the guidance she received from the adults in her life.
“My high school was small, so my teachers and counselor always knew what I was planning,” Martin says. “My parents were helpful and never tried to push me in the direction of one school over another.”
Martin began considering her options, and at first narrowed them down to two leading candidates.
“I was most excited about Hanover; I’d gotten their presidential scholarship and it was the first time I felt like a private school was attainable,” Martin said. But she had grown up near IU so she assumed that school would provide an easy transition and be the most practical option.
When it was time to make a decision, however, affordability and flexibility became her primary concerns. That led Martin to decide to pursue an associate degree in general studies at Ivy Tech.
Martin was already familiar with Ivy Tech’s academic environment, having earned 15 Ivy Tech credits via her high school’s dual-credit program.
“That made it an even easier transition,” she said. “Also, I knew most of the classes were fairly small, the instructors were helpful and available, and I would have a flexible schedule between my jobs.”
Martin plans to begin a yearlong dental assistant training next fall at IUPUI, then start working at a private dental practice and study dental hygiene. Long-term, she may eventually study forensic psychology. Regardless of what she chooses, she is confident that starting at Ivy Tech was exactly right for her needs.
“A four-year school is great for students who are passionate about and committed to their schools and the experience. But Ivy Tech is perfect for students who need flexibility and independence without missing out on a quality education.
She advises high school seniors to choose a college that will lay the groundwork for success, no matter their learning style.
“For me it’s a great stepping stone,” Martin states. “Ivy Tech can take you everywhere you need to go.”