Making her mother proud inspired first-generation college graduate
By Justin Madden
Going to college was never a question for Jocelyn Pozorski.
Born to a young single mother who always pushed the importance of education, Pozorski, of Jasper grew up with a passion for school and learning. Though her mother was not able to finish college herself, she always made sure to give her child every chance to learn that she could. When graduation time came along for high school, Pozorski headed to college in Tennessee without a second thought.
“I grew up knowing I needed to provide for myself,” she said. “It just came from wanting to do better for myself, and wanting to do better for my mom.”
Pozorski quickly discovered that what she thought would be the college of her dreams was instead a disappointment. Large class sizes, a difficult curriculum and plain old homesickness soon had her packing her bags and heading home to Georgia.
Pozorski had heard good things about Georgia Gwinnett College (GGC) from high school classmates. Its small class size and low cost convinced her to try it out.
Starting school again wasn’t easy at first. Many of the courses for an aspiring biology major can be especially challenging, particularly organic chemistry and microbiology. However, Pozorski found that she always had GGC professors willing to help her through.
During her final year at GGC, Pozorski attended school as a family member suffered a heart attack, her fiancé totaled his car, and to top it off, a beloved pet passed away. To make matters worse, all these events happened during an exam week. However, with the support of Dr. Rebekah Ward, associate professor of biology, Pozorski was able to pass the test with flying colors.
“I think sometimes we build a wall between students and professors where we think they don’t know what we’re going through because they’re grading our papers, but that’s not the truth,” she said. “At GGC we have a lot of professors who genuinely care about you as long as you’re willing to talk to them, and that’s incredible.”
Once she began to succeed in her classes, Pozorski became heavily involved with GGC’s extracurricular activities. As a member of the Student Integrity Board, she worked to help improve the academic lives of her fellow students. She also joined the B.E.A.M. organization, a student mentoring group, through which she helped first-generation college students, especially those who were struggling academically to succeed just as she had.
Perhaps her most important extracurricular achievement was her work as vice president of GGC’s Pharmacy Club. During the first few hectic weeks of the spring 2020 semester, Pozorski and the club president foresaw trouble on the horizon regarding the pandemic. They quickly switched the remaining club activities to an online setting even before the university system moved to online classes.
As a result, the club didn’t have to cancel any activities for the remainder of the semester. For example, they rescheduled on online tour of UGA for members to attend through a virtual program.
Pozorski will join more than 800 graduates at GGC’s commencement, scheduled virtually for 10 a.m., Aug. 8.
After graduating from GGC, Pozorski plans to put her passion for pharmacy work into action. As she heads to graduate school at UGA, Pozorski wants to work with local pharmacies while she progresses through her studies.
“As a pharmacist, you really do help your community,” she said. “You don’t have to see people in a doctor’s office or perform surgery to aid someone’s health.”