Journalism Grad Earns Degree 'Down Under' to Elevate Her Education
Windsor, Ontario - St. Clair Alumni Melissa Iarusso continued her education 'down under' to help her climb her way to the top!

After graduating from the Journalism program at St. Clair College in 2013, she decided to make the trek to Australia to further her studies and earn a degree.

Through a transfer agreement with Griffith University, she was able to transfer credits she earned at St. Clair and earn a Journalism Degree in just three semesters.

Melissa Iarusso

"I looked into getting my degree within Canada but barely any of my credits transferred, so I thought attending Griffith was a good way to not only save time to get my degree, but also gave me an incredible excuse to travel across the world and explore a beautiful country," explained Iarusso.

She earned a Bachelor's of Journalism Degree, majoring in Public Relations and Marketing, at Griffith University's Gold Coast Campus, which is just one of more than 20 degrees a St. Clair grad can earn at the Australian university.

"St. Clair provided me with a great foundation entering into university," said Iarusso. "Practicing television, radio and print reporting was very beneficial, as well as learning the basics of public relations."

Now with a diploma and degree under her belt, Iarusso said she feels much more confident entering the world of media.

"Although I would have felt prepared to enter into a journalism profession after St. Clair, I found that larger broadcast companies and public relations agencies still require a Bachelor's degree to be considered for an internship or career," said Iarusso. "I think my education at St. Clair and Griffith will help my career path because I now have both practical and theoretical knowledge of Journalism, PR and Marketing."

Iarusso said she also feels that studying in Australia differentiates her against competitors in the job market.

"In addition, studying in Australia has taught me how to better interact with people, build relationships and research because I was forced out of my comfort zone knowing no one in the country or how things worked," said Iarusso. "This experience has forced me to be completely independent, prioritize and manage my time, which are skills I don't believe you can learn entirely in school."

Iarusso said she would definitely recommend the transfer opportunity to any other St. Clair graduate.

"It's a great way to fast-track your degree after obtaining your diploma and you get to explore the other side of the world, make so many new friends and create a bigger network for yourself," said Iarusso.

Traveling down under without knowing a single soul was a bit nerve-racking, but Iarusso said she was immediately welcomed by Griffith mates getting off the plane. She also said joining the Canadian Student Association gave her an an amazing sense of comfort the low-down of how things are run at the university. While studying at Griffith, Iarusso became the first female President of the CSA.

"I would be happy to answer any questions to St. Clair students about my journey or answer questions about the application process, etc.," said Iarusso. "In addition to getting a great education, there are few places in the world where you can go surf in between classes and enjoy 25-plus degree weather all year round."

Even though the Gold Coast is now like a second home to the St. Clair grad, Iarusso plans to move back to Windsor and begin a career in Public Relations or Marketing.

St. Clair College has a number of articulation and transfer agreements with post-secondary institutions in Ontario, Canada and internationally. Through these agreements, graduates may receive transfer credit for several courses, a full semester or a full year (or more) toward a university degree.

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Additional information on transfer credit, collaborative programs and diploma to degree pathway opportunities between Ontario colleges and universities can be found through the Ontario Council on Articulation and Transfer (ONTransfer) website.