John graduated from high school with a 1.7 grade point average (GPA). By his own words, he was a troublesome student who was kicked out of his private high school and didn't care much that he barely graduated.
After experiencing some success on the local snowboarding circuit, his plan after high school was to try his hand professionally at the sport out west, because he thought it would be fun, and because he needed something to focus his considerable energies on and "keep him out of trouble".
Reality set in, however, and this plan was never realized. From then on his subsequent academic journey took several turns. After "a mediocre year" at Normandale Community College and a "slow start" at UMD with several majors, John's life changed forever....he got turned on to the sciences......especially chemistry.
He received a D+ on his first chemistry exam at UMD, but knew he had found his niche. He enjoyed chemistry and the challenges it presented. He worked vigorously, mastered disciplined study habits and his grades began to rise. He turned the D+ into a B.......and it was the last B he ever received in a chemistry course.
At UMD commencement ceremonies May 22 at the DECC, John will graduate with a 3.9 grade point average in chemistry. He is then going on to Yale University Graduate School in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry this fall.
An additional note, is that John has been a chemistry tutor at UMD assisting other students for the past five quarters. Jill Strand, instructor in the UMD Supportive Services Program said, "John is an exceptional student with a remarkably strong dedication to service. It has been a real pleasure to work with him and to watch him evolve into one of our tutoring leaders."