Kirsten Hill
Staff Writer

Cintron in the HIV Algal Bloom research lab. Photo: Oscar Rosado

 

Early college high school student from Lorain’s east side will receive two associate degrees and her high school diploma at the LCCC commencement on May 18.
Eleana Cintron, 18, started her high school years in August 2015 along with approximately 90 other students from Elyria and Lorain High Schools.  Nearly all of them will receive  Associate of Arts degrees plus their high school diplomas but less than 10 will leave the stage with one more honor, an Associate of Science degree, according to Cintron.  All classes have been held at the LCCC main campus.

The amount on her plate
“In middle school, I took algebra so I was a year ahead in math,” said Cintron adding, “To get the Associate of Science [you need] to take two sequences of [additional science and math].”    General Chemistry 171 and 172 and Mathematics (Calculus) 181 and 182 are the courses she completed.
“Right now, I have three classes, General Chemistry, Calculus and Introduction to Psychology,” said Cintron.  One of the classes is held on Tuesday and Thursday evenings after she works eight hours at NASA Glenn Research.  She started there in June 2018 through a U.S. Air Force grant program.
Cintron has been able to narrow down her interests through the experience at NASA Glenn Research.  She explained there are so many different kinds of engineering.  One day her mentor at the research center handed her a big book and said, “Go read this and come ask if you have questions.”  She did and found that she was interested in X-ray crystallography.
“I really like this field because you can connect it easily with biology and biochemistry, for example looking at protein structures,” said Cintron during the interview in one of the LCCC biology labs.  “This senior year has been my most challenging but my most fruitful year.”
In December, Cintron was accepted to Case Western Reserve University and will pursue a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering.  “Very sharp girl.  Very intelligent girl,” were the words Ramona Anand, LCCC professor, used.  Anand is the founding advisor of the Society of Women Engineers chapter on the LCCC campus, of which Cintron is a member.  Anand explained that Cintron was recently the ‘STEMbassador’ on WKYC Channel 3 in Cleveland.
“I’m in the process of working out the credit transfers (from LCCC) with Case Western,” explained Cintron.  She’ll be able to complete a bachelor’s degree in less than four years and plans to continue on for a doctorate in biochemistry.
How has Cintron been able to accomplish so much in so little time?  She explains, “Get here at 8 (a.m.)  Yesterday stayed here until 9:30 (p.m).  Research starts at 3 o’clock and ends at 5 or 6.”  Her dad finishes work at 4 p.m. and then has band practice two to three times per week and picks her up around 9 p.m. afterwards.  “In junior year is when I started staying late.”  Her dad is a CAD technician mapping out roadways but doesn’t have a degree in engineering himself.
The research that Cintron has been doing on campus is on algal bloom.  The project is led by Dr. Kathryn Durham and Michelle Neudeck under Bowling Green State University guidance.

Cintron is not the only one in her family earning a college degree this year from LCCC.  “My grandma is actually graduating with me,” said Cintron.  Marjorie Cintron of Lorain is Eleana’s grandma and will receive an Associate of Arts in Individualized Studies this spring.  In the fall, Eleana’s sister, Thalia Cintron, will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration through the University Partnership.