Now he is working towards his doctorate degree in English literature at the University of Virginia, one of the most prestigious English Ph.D. programs in the country.
Curtis never dreamed that taking a few courses at CCM would turn into a hunger for education that would lead him to some of the nationâ€™s top schools. After graduating from CCM in 2011 with his associate degree in liberal arts, he transferred to Columbia University where he earned his B.A. in English with summa cum laude honors.
â€śI had no intention of even applying to a four-year school before I came to CCM,â€ť he says. â€śI had to do a lot to reshape my academic image after leaving FDU and CCM helped me.â€ť
English department Chair Janet Eber was an â€śadministrative champion,â€ť he says, and helped him realize his potential by motivating and advising him. â€śShe was very helpful, very supportive and pointed me in the right direction. Dr. (Philip) Chase and Dr. (Maryanne) Garbowsky were also instrumental in my success at CCM and beyond.â€ť
He notes that his favorite part of being a student at CCM was interacting with the professors from the English department. â€śThey always gave me extra time, challenged me and encouraged me if I was selling myself short.â€ť His admiration for them is what inspired him to set the goal of becoming a professor.
His experience at CCM also prepared him well for the hard work he needed to undertake to succeed at Columbia. â€śMy literature classes at CCM definitely prepared me for the kind of thinking and the level of work that was required at the Ivy League level,â€ť he says. â€śIf I hadnâ€™t had the opportunity to go to school in such an inviting and receptive environment, I wouldnâ€™t be where I am today. I was able to experiment and feel out where my interests were at CCM.â€ť
Not only does CCM provide a high-quality education, it also is a perfect place to get a fresh start after a major setback, Curtis adds.
â€śThere are great people working at CCM, not only brilliant and helpful, but so willing to give their time to students who are uncertain and struggling.â€ť