Alumni Profiles

  • A great start

    SC4 provided St. James with what he needed to begin his college education

    Jerry (Gerald) St. James began planning for his future well in advance when he decided to dual enroll at SC4 as a junior in high school, and it paid off in a big way. Jerry St. James

    After completing his associate degree in science, he was able to transfer close to 90 credits to the University of Michigan, helping him get a jump start on his bachelor’s degree in biomolecular science, which he will finish this semester.

    The Marine City native has decided to stay at U-M, as he was recently accepted into its pharmacology program, which he will begin in the fall.

    “I thought it was a good idea to start earning college credit in high school so I could graduate faster,” he said. “A lot of the classes I did take while I was in high school ended up transferring to the University of Michigan, so I was able to take a lot of classes (at SC4) that I would have had to take at U-M. I was able to save money and I significantly cut into my debt that I’m going to have.”

    St. James said he followed the transfer guide available on U-M’s website and worked with SC4 advisors to ensure his classes transferred.

    Matt Zeig, an academic advisor at SC4 who worked with St. James, said if students want to ensure classes will transfer they need to decide where they are going and what they are transferring for sooner rather than later.

    “Advisors understand picking a transfer college and degree can be a tough decision and welcome undecided students.  However, when students are undecided they will want to make multiple campus visits and do research into different areas of interest for a career to help narrow down their choices. Being proactive in the decision making process will only benefit them,” he said. “Jerry is a great example of a student being proactive by meeting with advisors and following the transfer guides to ensure courses will transfer and aid him at the next level.”

    St. James noted most of the courses he took at the 200 level or higher transferred easily to U-M. The 100 level courses transferred as well, but as department credit.

    St. James said he enjoyed his time at SC4, noting the smaller class sizes were beneficial and helped him gain a good understanding of his core classes before transferring to a bigger university.

    “Here (U-M) you are in classes of 300 some people, and they read a PowerPoint slide and move on,” St. James said.  “And if you want to learn you have to go out of your way, where at SC4, teachers go out of their way for you. It’s a big difference.”

    He mentioned Joe Gibbons and Nick Goins specifically for leaving a lasting impression on him.

    “I had Joe for most of my chemistry classes (at SC4) and had Nick for my calculus sequence. I really enjoyed their classes and they taught me a lot,” he said.         

    St. James said one reason he chose to attend U-M was because it is one of the few colleges in Michigan which has a rifle team. He recently served as treasurer of the team, and will begin his term as president next year. He gained a love of the sport after 10 years in 4H.

    “This is Olympic style shooting … We travel the country shooting and we recently went to Georgia for nationals and our team won this year,” he said. “We are shooting with Olympians who will be competing in the Rio summer games, so it’s a great experience and you learn a lot. We have one of the best coaches in the state, if not country.”       

    U-M’s well-respected pharmacology program was another reason St. James chose the college.

    “I wanted to do something in the medical field and my aunt is a pharmacist so I grew up around it and I felt it was the best fit for me in terms of career goals and what I wanted to accomplish in my life,” he said. “I got a job as a pharm tech right after SC4 and instantly loved it and reinforced my wanting to become a pharmacist. I’m thinking of going into clinical pharm and working at a hospital, but I haven’t narrowed it down to what I want to do.”

    St. James said SC4 proved to be a great place to get a jump start on his education and said the college was also the starting point for his sisters.

    “Both of my sisters went to SC4 and graduated from there,” he said. “One went on to get her masters at Walsh and the other went to Michigan State University and then on to Mississippi State and Illinois where she earned two master’s degrees, one from each school. My mom also teaches math at SC4.”

    What is St. James advice for current students? “The biggest thing about SC4 is if you are using it as a transfer school you have to know which classes will transfer and which will not. You need to know exactly what you want to get out of SC4 and take advantage of what it has to offer. I got the same education (at SC4) as I would have (at U-M).”