General Info > News Releases > Archived Releases 2008-09 > 2008-09-29: Former MC Student Continues to Excel

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – September 29, 2008

MENDOCINO COLLEGE, 1000 Hensley Creek Road, Ukiah, CA 95482

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File: –  Olivia Alley Feature
Photo:  - NR-MC Olivia Alley
           Former Mendocino College Student Continues To Excel

Ukiah, CA – For various reasons, many students attend a community college before transferring to a four-year institution.
Mendocino College students come from diverse backgrounds and each takes a different path to earn their college degree. 

This is no different for Olivia Alley, who graduated from Mendocino College in 2004 and is now attending the University of California-Riverside where she is pursuing her Ph. D in chemistry and is on track to graduate in 2013.   

Her journey to obtaining her Ph. D is different than most.  Alley was home schooled until 8th grade after her mother saw huge holes in the educations of local 7th graders.  

After attending 8th grade at Willits Charter School, she enrolled in Redwood Academy in Ukiah in 2000 and started taking Mendocino College classes in Willits and at the main campus.

After graduating from Mendocino College, she transferred to The California Institute of Technology at Pasadena, where she graduated with a BS in chemistry in 2008.  

“I owe a lot to the teachers at Mendocino College who were willing to have me in their classes as a high school student, and who gave me valuable encouragement and feedback. Mac Smith, who teaches math in Willits, taught me a lot, not only about math, but about teaching itself,” Alley said.

While at Mendocino College, Alley graduated with an AA in General Studies, while having a 4.0 GPA.  She was the only recipient of the National Merit Scholar from Mendocino County for the class of 2004.

Alley believes that attending Mendocino College and the curriculum she was exposed to prepared her for a school like California Institute of Technology.
 “It was valuable because it gave me a much better idea of the preparation I needed for a rigorous university like California Institute of Technology—I might have gotten into Caltech without that knowledge, but I would have had an even harder time with it. The chemistry class I took from Dr. DeChaine and Deborah White’s calculus class were both introductions into ‘higher’ science and math for me that I wouldn’t have gotten without attending Mendocino College,” Alley Said.
Since June of last year, she has been doing research on semiconductors as applied to producing affordable solar energy.  Alley hopes to do something similar while at UC-Riverside.

“After I graduate I plan to enter industry to work on the development of affordable solar cells. Unless the problem is solved by then, and then I’ll do something less socially useful,” Alley said.

Created: September 30, 2008 @ 11:24 AM
Last Modified: May 08, 2009 @ 08:26 AM


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