Olivia Hanson
Blazer Stories

Gaining Momentum

When Olivia Hanson started at JWCC, she was nervous about the college experience and unsure of what to expect. Two years later, Olivia graduated with honors, a confident woman ready to transfer to the University of Illinois.

As a student in high school, Olivia originally wanted to attend a four-year university for her entire college experience. She had applied at a few schools, and had started doing research to narrow down her choices. After her research brought her to look at the cost of four-year institutions, Olivia started to consider other options. She had begun to realize that attending community college before a four-year college would save her thousands of dollars. Then, in the spring of after a fateful phone call, Olivia confirmed her decision to attend JWCC.

“I really landed on John Wood once I got a phone call from Eric Foster (Student Life Coordinator). He called to see if I was interested in the Trail Blazer Scholarship,” remembered Olivia. “At first I was a little surprised, but by the end of the phone call, I had made my decision to attend JWCC.”

The Trail Blazer Scholarship is a half tuition scholarship that requires recipients to meet a minimum level of involvement on campus, including attending Admissions recruitment events and participating in Student Life events. As part of the requirements of the scholarship, Olivia became involved with the Student Government Association (SGA).

“When I first got involved with SGA, I was very shy. I didn’t know very many people and was unsure of my place. But eventually I broke out of my shell and started to get excited about being involved.”

By her second year on campus, Olivia earned an SGA officer’s role, holding the position of PR Secretary Chair. Olivia also worked as a student worker in the Marketing and Public Relations office, gaining valuable experience for her future career.

“I think if I would have started at a larger school, I would have felt more overwhelmed with the amount of people there and felt like, even though there were a lot of opportunities, they weren’t necessarily mine for the taking,” said Oliva in a recent interview. “At John Wood, I had people that encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and encouraged me to take leadership positions.”

Olivia graduated from John Wood Community College with honors in the spring of 2022 with her Associate’s degree in communications. She has been accepted to the University of Illinois, with plans to start in the fall of 2022.