Normandale takes great pride in being a starting point for students to accomplish any goal they want to pursue. Garrett Gross is a great example of a student who has developed this mentality. Gross, who served in the Army from 2010 to 2016, started in fall 2017 after hearing about Normandale's quality reputation.
"When I was in high school, Normandale was known as a top community college in the Twin Cities," said Gross. "I visited several community colleges, and I really liked the way the Normandale campus was put together and how many classes were available to students in different degree programs."
Gross is currently pursuing a degree in Computer Science and has always had a passion for technology and computers. The plans for his future path changed in spring 2018 when he heard about the Stanford Summer Veterans Accelerator Program from Normandale Certifying Veterans Ofﬁcial Lori York.
"Lori (York) informed me and several other veteran students about the opportunity, and asked if I was going to apply," said Gross."After talking to my family and girlfriend, I decided to apply. It was a lengthy process, so when I found out I was accepted I was extremely excited about the opportunity."
The opportunity to take summer classes at Stanford changed Gross' mindset about his education, and the goals he wants to accomplish. Along with taking classes at Stanford, Gross was able to meet with employees from Google, LinkedIn and a variety of other organizations.
"I think the experience was really valuable," said Gross. "Just being able to go to Stanford and getting the exposure to the educational environment was a great experience. After going through the summer program, I want to attend Stanford with a burning passion. I never had my eyes on that before, and it was such a valuable experience because it showed me what is out there."
The opportunity to clarify his goals energized Gross. He was excited to share his experiences with other veterans at Normandale.
"It is so amazing that we've had two students from Normandale be part of this nationwide program with only 30 individuals involved in two years," said Gross. "It shows me and other veteran students that if we try hard enough there are opportunities available to make it at the top universities in the nation. I hope more people apply because it is a great program."
As Gross has progressed at Normandale, he has continued to get more involved on campus. He was accepted into the Phi Theta Kappa and Mu Theta Alpha honor societies and is currently working in the Writing Center as a writing tutor. Gross is thankful for all of the doors that have been opened for him during his time at Normandale.
"Normandale has really set me up for success," said Gross. "When I was in high school I did not have the best GPA. I struggled with my education growing up, but coming to Normandale really opened my eyes that college was a new start and a clean slate. I took the opportunity seriously from the beginning, and my professors took me seriously. My grades and accomplishments have reﬂected that, and I am thankful for the opportunities Normandale has provided."