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Chester County Press

Martin passionate about nature

Holly Martin has a passion for nature and the way the modern world interacts with and affects the natural order of the environment. When she came to Cecil College, she was looking for a career path that helped her understand these impacts and possibly provide her with opportunities to make changes for the better. 

Now in her senior year at Towson University, where she will complete her bachelor of science in environmental studies with a minor in biology this spring, she is networking to develop connections with non-profit organizations focused on environmental justice. With more than 73,793 acres of agricultural land in Cecil County, she is passionate about the intersectionality related to concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO) in Maryland and the role of environmental planning. 

“There were three reasons Cecil College stood out for me upon graduating high school. It gave me an affordable way to pursue my dream of higher education while still being close to home. Thirdly, it enabled me to get a head start on classes by taking online courses while still in high school,” said Martin, a 2020 graduate of Perryville High School. “Many of my courses at Cecil College laid a foundation for my coursework at Towson University. I transferred most of my prerequisites and core requirement courses, allowing me to start my upper-level courses immediately.”

A native of Conowingo, Martin learned of the top-quality environmental and biological courses offered at Cecil College from family members who previously went through the programs. Cecil College offers an associate of applied science degree in agricultural sciences, biological sciences, bioproduction, equine studies, horticultural science, and physics. 

Through the advice of family members and talking with classmates in her first semester at Cecil College, Martin laid the foundation of her education. She quickly discovered the sciences came naturally to her, embraced the course work, and made positive connections with the faculty. 

“Christine Warwick and Heather Cadogan were my favorite professors as they were amazing at breaking down complex processes for students and offering extra help to ensure each student understood the material,” said Martin. “Professor Warwick had us do study guides at the end of each chapter, and at the time, as a new student, I didn’t quite understand their benefit. But looking back, they were great to study material for exams, and I’m glad she pushed us to do them.”

Martin realizes her interest in environmental sciences goes hand-in-hand with the issue of climate change, which has become an industry. As a powerful economic driver, investment in climate change industries within the United States has grown from $890 million in 2015 to more than $576 billion in 2022, according to Environmental Business International research firm. 

Martin’s goal was to complete her education with little college loan debt, opening the doorway to work for a non-profit upon graduation. At Cecil College, she applied for and was awarded several scholarships that covered the cost of tuition, books, and some of her living expenses. 

“I was awarded the Battelle STEM Scholarship, the Cecil Pride Scholarship, the Collegium de Vinum Scholarship, and the Zalewski Family Scholarship. These scholarships helped me stay focused on my studies as they helped relieve any worry about financials. Many students I knew at Cecil College also worked part-time or full-time jobs while pursuing their academic goals. Knowing there is less of a financial burden on a student can be a big game changer,” said Martin.  

Martin encourages high school juniors and seniors to find various ways to save money, and not to assume going into debt is the default to go to college. She advises that high schoolers reach out for local scholarships, attend a local college to reduce costs, or take online courses over the summer to get a head start.

Martin said, “Too many students feel they are missing out on the “college experience” if they do not immediately go into a four-year university. In the long run, avoiding student debt and obtaining a good education is more valuable. You can still have two years to experience those; don’t feel pressured to take the same path as everyone else.”