Polk State Criminal Justice alum gets bachelor’s degree debt free, enrolls in master’s program at UF
For Noah Guinn, his ability to save money at the front end of his educational journey at Polk State College has been paramount as he now pursues a master’s degree at the University of Florida and has his sights set on medical school to become a forensics pathologist.
Like many Polk State students, Guinn graduated debt free and shared how this has helped accelerate his education and career goals. Starting out as a dual enrollment student at Haines City High School, Guinn graduated with his diploma and substantial college credit toward a Polk State Associate in Arts degree, all for free. Once enrolled at the College, he benefited from scholarships through the Polk State College Foundation.
“College seemed like a big, scary thing growing up, but Polk State pushed me to not be afraid to further my education,” Guinn shared. “It taught me how to be a little more independent and granted me the time to figure out what I truly wanted to pursue.”
“College seemed like a big, scary thing growing up, but Polk State pushed me to not be afraid to further my education. It taught me how to be a little more independent and granted me the time to figure out what I truly wanted to pursue.”
After receiving his Associate in Arts degree in 2017, he debated whether to stay at Polk State to pursue a bachelor’s degree or transfer to a university. That’s when he found a good fit within Polk State’s Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Program.
“I had originally wanted to go into pharmacy but when I shadowed a pharmacist, I realized I wanted to go a different direction that wouldn’t require me to be inside all day,” Guinn reflected. “That’s when I developed the goal to become a forensics pathologist and Polk State’s Criminal Justice Program was very beneficial to me because a lot of the courses that related to forensics prepared me for what I’m now going into at the University of Florida.”
Guinn shared that the Polk State Criminal Justice Program is comprised of quality, professional instructors and relevant curriculum that has allowed him to establish a strong foundation as he moves forward in his education and career.
He added that the flexibility of the programming, including online classes, allowed him to balance his studies with working full-time to pay for his schooling.
“The affordability of Polk State was a big factor in my decision to continue on with my bachelor’s degree there and I’m so glad that I did,” he said. “Everything I was able to do before going to a university and taking out student loans was beneficial. To anyone who feels like they do not have the resources to attend college, you can do it at Polk State.”
Guinn added that the affordability did not sacrifice the quality of education and training he received.
“To anyone who feels like they do not have the resources to attend college, you can do it at Polk State.”
“The quality of the learning environment at Polk State is unmatched,” he said. “You receive the same educational opportunities at Polk State that you would get at a university at a fraction of the cost.”
Guinn, the first in his family to attend college, was accepted into UF’s Forensic Science Graduate Program in February. He expressed thanks to his family for supporting his academic endeavors.
“My mom always told me stories of my grandfather who was the first and only of eight children to graduate high school,” he said. “Education was always important to him, and it has always been important to my mom – I’m thankful to her for pushing me and prioritizing my education.”
“I owe it to my family.”