Student Success Story: Elissa Sanford

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Tidewater_Elissa_SanfordElissa Sanford: TCC education is paving her way to medical school

Elissa Sanford’s 4.5 high school GPA and ridiculously high test scores made her a candidate for just about any college in the nation.

Instead the Hickory High School graduate chose Tidewater Community College, where she not only earned an Associate of Science, but settled on a major and career pathway largely thanks to inspiration from one of her professors.

“If I had gone to a four-year school, it would have largely been because of the social pressure,” she said. “I knew I could get the same education with my first two years at TCC.”

Now an honors graduate of Old Dominion University with a bachelor of science in biology, Sanford, 21, is applying for medical school and plans to become a trauma surgeon.

At TCC, Sanford earned a full scholarship, which allowed her to graduate without student debt. In addition to small class sizes, she enjoyed the engagement between students and professors.

In fact, it was anatomy and physiology Professor Kay Sourbeer who gave Sanford the confidence to consider medical school.

“She told me I was the best student she had taught in her 30 years and asked me if I had thought about med school,” Sanford said. “Having a professor tell you something like that is pretty profound.”

Sanford is applying to a plethora of medical programs on the East Coast but hopeful for acceptance into Eastern Virginia Medical School, where she took part last summer in a program for undergraduate research.

“I don’t have less of an education because I came from a community college,” Sanford said. “If anything I have more. Like they say, you really can do anything from TCC.”

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