Ingrid Zimmer-Galler, M.D., Class of 1983

1994 Distinguished Alumni Recipient

I consider myself very fortunate to have received a vital part of my education at Okaloosa-Walton Community College. I am a strong advocate of community colleges and feel the benefits of the time I spent in the Florida Community College System are immeasurable.   I found one of the greatest benefits of attending OWCC to be the small class size. This allowed close, individualized contact and direct interaction with the instructors yielding an ideal educational environment. Clearly, the educational process in such a setting is greatly enhanced when compared to classes with hundreds of students as is common at most four-year universities.

The instruction I received at OWCC provided me with strong scientific foundations for my career in medicine, and prepared me well for transfer to a four-year institution. After graduation from OWCC, I was admitted to the Johns Hopkins University. I was equally well prepared for upper level courses as the students who had received their first two years of undergraduate education at the Johns Hopkins University. I recall that the transition to a major four-year university was not particularly difficult. This speaks greatly for the excellent education provided by community colleges in general and specifically by OWCC.

A wide selection of classes was available at OWCC and made it possible for me to explore subjects outside of my main interest in science. This aspect of community colleges may be especially valuable to students unsure of a career path to follow as they may pursue interests in several different fields. Likewise ample extracurricular activities were available. For example, one of my hobbies is music, and I was able to perform with the OWCC Symphony Orchestra. I was elected as a Student Government Senator by the student body. This participation in student government helped me to learn to assume the leadership role that is an important attribute needed to succeed in today's society. Other activities in which I was involved included the OWCC Brain Bowl team and the Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society. Comparable to many universities, numerous intramural and extramural activities were available to satisfy most any interests.

At the time of my graduation from high school, I had just turned 17 years old. By attending OWCC I did not have to leave home at this early age, and I consider this a great advantage. Finally, a not inconsequential benefit of attending a community college is the financial aspect. Receiving a college education can be exceedingly expensive especially if combined with graduate education such as needed to obtain a medical degree. Living at home and the lower tuition costs may amount to considerable savings when compared to attending a university for four years.

I especially enjoyed the time I spent at OWCC and felt it prepared me well for a future in academics. As I contemplate my achievements, I fondly recall all that I gained from the excellent education I received at Okaloosa-Walton Community College.

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