Note: This article was originally published on Dec. 4, 2017.

Jennifer Nessle is graduating from Ivy Tech and heading to the Ivy League. She is the ultimate example of being able to do anything you put your mind to.

As a young girl, Jennifer acknowledges being the target of bullying, which led her to self-doubt. After graduating from high school, she moved away for college, but struggled because of circumstances in her life.

In 2009, she was working five jobs to get by, and admittedly feeling unfulfilled. It was in 2010 that she then made the decision to apply to Ivy Tech.

“My drive was to make something of myself and give myself something to be happy about. I was sick and tired of feeling like I wasn’t worth anything. I wanted to change my life, so I picked myself up by my own bootstraps, dusted myself off and went back to college.”

During her time at Ivy Tech, Jennifer made it her goal to join Phi Theta Kappa, an Honor Society that her mother had benefited from during her time in college.

As soon as she met the GPA requirement, Jennifer crashed the first PTK meeting she could and immediately ran for an officer position, which she successfully secured.

“I wanted to see what doors would open for me and I wanted to give myself a brighter future.”

Jennifer attended a spring regional conference for PTK where workshops on leadership training and resume building were offered. Harvard Extension School representatives were also in attendance and were inviting students to consider attending Harvard Extension School, one of the 12 degree-granting institutions at Harvard University, that offers undergraduate degrees, graduate degrees, graduate certificates, and nearly 800 courses.

After noticing Jennifer at the conference, representatives from the Extension School reached out to her via email and told her she had the potential to be Harvard material. Jennifer jumped at the life changing opportunity that had been offered to her and will be attending her admittance courses during the summer of 2018 on a PTK scholarship.

“My mother once told me that sometimes in life, you have life changing opportunities that cross your path and they might seem intimidating, but when you face something that intimidates you, it just means that you should do it, because it is only when we face our fears that our fears shrink before us. That is how we make change for our lives. This is no doubt an extremely challenging path, but I shall walk it fearlessly because I am determined to discover who I am, and to build a life worth living. So, I said yes.”

Jennifer plans to take classes on campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and explore many subject areas that interest her, including quantum physics, science, space, ethics, and intellect.

“I grew up not confident in my own abilities. When you go to college, you become well-rounded as an individual and you become armed with the sword and shield of logic. I am humbled to aspire to be sculpted by such an institution as Harvard.”

Jennifer is graduating from Ivy Tech Indianapolis on December 16, 2017 with an associate degree in General Studies. She is the student speaker for her school’s ceremony.

“My story is about overcoming not only outside obstacles, but self-obstacles. Sometimes, it’s your own way of thinking that you have to break free of, but the moment you free your potential, you can move mountains with your own two hands.”

Click here to learn more about the general studies program at Ivy Tech. 


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.