Zac Wenzel

JRNM 151 Student

Through the University Partnership program, Lorain County Community College is offering a bachelors of arts degree in integrated environmental studies through Hiram College. LCCC is currently the only college that is partnered with Hiram to offer this degree, making it a rare opportunity for those students interested in environmental studies.

In an effort to draw more awareness to the program, students and environmental employers were invited to a luncheon event on March 29 at the Lorain County Metro Park’s Sandy Ridge Reservation in North Ridgeville.

“We currently have about ten students in the program and are working to grow it,” said Krystal Iwuagwu, program counselor for Hiram College at LCCC. Lack of advertisement is one of the reasons why the program has yet to grow as much as Hiram and LCCC believe it can, according to Iwuagwu.

The luncheon event included speakers from Hiram, as well as local environmental companies, and a steward of the Lorain County Metro Parks.

Dr. Michael Benedict, associate professor of environmental studies at Hiram, spoke on the many options available to students, including job opportunities.

“There are many job options out there, in many different fields,” Benedict said. “From environmental journalism and law, to waste management, to parks and recreation, this program offers many different options depending on the interests of each individual student.”

However, students already in an applied science program may have more of an advantage as opposed to those who aren’t in the program, Benedict added.

“Those students already in an applied science program have already developed a foundation in the sciences,” Benedict said. This would make for a much easier transition from LCCC to Hiram.

While it is not impossible for a student in a non-science program to participate in this partnership, it is slightly more difficult, according to Benedict.

Shane Derricotte, a Hiram student who is in his third year of the program, echoed the sentiments of Professor Benedict.

“I highly recommend following the associate of science curriculum,” said Derricotte, who earned this degree from LCCC prior to starting the Hiram program.

Thomas Deastlov, Director of Enrollment and Student Services at Hiram, is excited about the coming opportunities in environmental studies in Northeastern Ohio. This area of the country will be ripe in the coming years with job opportunities in environmental studies due to wind turbines being built along the shores of the Great Lakes and the abundance of natural resources in Ohio and neighboring states, according to Deastlov.

“This area will be a huge part of the growth in environmental studies.”

Any students who are interested in the program with Hiram should contact Krystal Iwuagwu at or by phone at 440-366-4804.