BLOOMINGTON – Julihannah Cruz graduated from the Academy of Science and Entrepreneurship in May 2018 having earned 36 college credits through Ivy Tech early college programs. Cruz will apply her credits toward her associate degree at Ivy Tech Community College this fall, before transferring to a four-year institution. Cruz applied for and was admitted into Ivy Tech’s respiratory therapy program, and began classes in fall 2018. Cruz is the first student to be admitted to the program straight from high school.

“The respiratory therapy program is highly selective and only accepts 12 students per semester, typically receiving twice the number of applications than spaces available,” said Jennie Vaughan, Ivy Tech Bloomington Chancellor. “I congratulate students like Julihannah who take advantage of early college options to jump start their college careers.”

“Taking dual credit classes through Ivy Tech allowed me to save on college costs and get a feel for what college would be like,” said Cruz. “I met a lot of people with common interests at Ivy Tech, and everyone was so nice. It is a friendly environment and I made lots of friends here.”

Cruz is familiar with Ivy Tech’s respiratory therapy program because her mother is a respiratory therapist and her sister graduated from the program in 2015.

“I’ve always been interested in healthcare,” said Cruz. “Before I applied to the respiratory therapy program, I shadowed my sister who is working as a respiratory therapist in Ohio. Seeing how my sister reacted to families was inspiring.”

While enrolled in Ivy Tech’s dual credit program, Cruz talked to Ivy Tech advisors about her goal to transfer her associate degree to a bachelor’s degree program and eventually become a PA (physician’s assistant) with a specialization in cardiology.

“I told them this is what I wanted to do, and they are helping me get there,” she said. “I want to transfer my associate degree to a bachelor’s degree program in respiratory therapy, which leads to a PA program, which is my career goal. If everything goes as planned, I will graduate in five years.”

Cruz is taking the summer off before starting college this fall. She worked part-time while in high school at a local restaurant, in addition to taking college classes, being involved in high school activities, and job shadowing a local cardiologist. Despite her busy schedule, Cruz is glad that she started college early.

“I was able to get the rough patch of college done early,” said Cruz. “I had a really good support system and Ivy Tech professors were always willing to help as long as I was willing to put in the effort.”

Ivy Tech’s Bloomington campus offers early college options for high school students who intend to earn bachelor’s degrees and save on college costs. High School students can earn college credits by enrolling in dual credit classes at their high school or on Ivy Tech’s campus. Request information or visit

About Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering associate degrees, long- and short-term certificate programs, industry certifications, and training that aligns with the needs of the community. The College provides a seamless transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a bachelor's degree.