A cross-country runner in high school, Rachel Caron is well acquainted with sometimes meandering racecourses that might loop and bend through grassy fields, forest trails, or muddy pastures. The Piedmont Technical College (PTC) transfer student’s college experience, in fact, has been a reversal of the conventional transfer pathway to a baccalaureate degree. She began her journey at the University of South Carolina (UofSC) and will finish her degree at PTC, rather than the other way around.
Caron is finishing up her UofSC biology degree with a clinical experience through PTC’s Cardiovascular Technology-Invasive Program, which employs sophisticated medical equipment to perform procedures on patients for diagnostic and interventional treatment of cardiovascular diseases as part of a cardiac catheterization team.
“In high school, I played a lot of sports,” Caron said, having been on Wando High School’s cross-country and track teams, as well as a stint as a cheerleader, while maintaining a 4.39 GPA. “I was interested in student athletics and first majored in exercise science at UofSC but changed my major to biology.”
Medical school is one possible direction after graduation, but she hasn’t decided. Caron’s father is a pediatrician in Charleston.
“I change my mind all the time,” she said. “I always seem to know what I’m NOT interested in.” But once Caron eliminates those unwanted choices, she remains open to new things and is game to try just about anything at least once.
The biology program she is in at UofSC requires that students apply for and complete a clinical program in their senior year (an appropriate CVT program was not available at the university), and Caron’s advisor recommended the PTC program.
“The only other program was in Augusta,” Caron said, and she chose to transfer to PTC to complete clinical requirements for her baccalaureate degree. She is expected to finish in December.
“We have an articulation agreement where students earning their associate degree at PTC can go on to earn their bachelor’s from UofSC,” CVT Instructor Laura Boone said. “Rachel is one of two students doing the reverse transfer. She has been a star in this program and has a bright future.”
While at PTC, Caron is serving as a Presidential Ambassador and, despite a busy schedule, still finds time to work out. (The 22-year-old considers a 4-5-mile run “easy.”) While completing her studies, Caron is training for a half-marathon. For now, she has settled into a steady pace and is primed to go the distance.
For more information about transfer opportunities at PTC, visit www.ptc.edu/transfer.